Page 1

A little slice of foodie heaven

ete Our cOmtpl Guide O

£3 where sold

CRUMBS Devon No.13 February 2017

NOseaiL! COOkinG pOrk tO t


s ' R E TH o M

“It’s my ream!” lifelOng d es wants

No.13 February 2017

in Michael Cas tars in 3 Mich’sel to say he

DAY ! K C A B IS It’s MessY!! It’s lUMPY



bsm a

.g c o


c ru m


(and who won’t get ’em?)



n o i s s a p n m a d o  s ’ It ! s u O I C I L De THE

e m i r C oF s IST WE LIS



be The PiG at COmField d RiverfOrit K chen


So Devon would never rule the world!

did Whyinvent God ider? c


ll a e r ’ e w , 7 For SS1 Victims!


LOVE, LOVE ME DO IT’S FEBRUARY – THE MONTH OF LOVE – and although Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and doubtless your romantic plans are already in place, we say: why stop at the 14th? After all, the remainder of the month features a whole 14 more days to keep the love flowing, and you know what fuels amore better than anything? Yes, food. While our Hero Ingredient – the passion fruit – doesn’t necessarily have the aphrodisiacal qualities of oysters, it certainly gets us feeling fruity with all its tart-yet-sweet flavours. And know what else is good for getting you in the mood? Booze. When we drink it, we like to keep it local – better still, awardwinning and local – and we’ve found a Devon gal who, even though she’s only a year or so into cider production, is already sweeping up when it comes to accolades and international orders. What’s more, she’s got an uh-mazing home, so we went along for a proper snoop (and to enjoy a few glugs) – have a peek through the keyhole on p38. And I tell you who else is passionate around here: our chefs. It’s this, combined with Devon’s amazing produce, that’s landed the region a host of Michelin stars and AA rosettes recently. Missed the news? Check out what some of the winners have to say about culinary excellence on p48. Oh, and is anyone getting revved up for Exeter Food Festival on April 29? We bloomin’ are. Exhibitors, visitors: keep in touch with your plans. It’s going to be one helluva party...


Charlie Lyon, Editor



Crumbs is now an app! You can read all editions of Crumbs – Bath+Bristol, Cotswolds and Devon – on iTunes or Android. Scan the QR codes above, search ‘Crumbs’ or go to

Table of Contents

NO. 13 FEBRUARY 2017












GREG INGHAM large version

08 HERO INGREDIENTS With its totally tropical taste, meet the passion fruit 10 OPENINGS ETC The word on the foodie street 14 ASK THE EXPERT Cheese dreams 19 TRIO Mum’s the word!

large version

MediaClash, Circus Mews House, Circus Mews, Bath BA1 2PW; 01225 475800; © All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without written permission of MediaClash. MediaClash reserves the right to reject any material and to edit such prior to publication. Opinions are those of individual authors. Printed on paper from a well-managed source. Inks are vegetable-based; printer is certified to ISO 14001 environmental management. This month we got handy with the Smeg espresso machine at The Pig, mashed our celeriac instead of puréeing it (p26), and gatecrashed Crumbs Bath+Bristol’s day at the Clifton Lido – cheers, guys.

CHEF! Amazing recipes from the region’s top kitchens 24 Italian squash risotto, from Ashburton Cookery School 26 The perfect rump steak, by Matthew Mason 28 Swiss malakoffs, from the on and only Orlando Murrin 32 Lamb and pearl barley, by Phillip Bradshaw

KITCHEN ARMOURY 38 HOUSE CALL Cider maker Polly Hilton sure likes them apples

45 THE WANT LIST Go on, get a bit of colour in your kitchen

MAINS 48 OH MY STARS! Watch out, there’s a new Michelin star about... 52 SNOUT TO TAIL Devon pros give the lowdown on all the different pork cuts – and how to cook them 56 TATERS GONNA TATE Sprouts are good (potato sprouts, that is)


New & notable restaurants, cafés, bars 62 Riverford Field Kitchen 64 The Pig at Combe PLUS

66 LITTLE BLACK BOOK These siblings from Simply Fish know a thing or two about seafood, and where to eat it

Trencherman’s Pub of the Year 2016

The Swan is the oldest pub in the charming historic town of Bampton, near Exmoor National Park, an area well known for its hunting, fishing, shooting and popular with ramblers and cyclists. We have a passion for food and with this we like to embrace the use of local produce, keeping menus simple, yet bursting with flavours and imagination. We take pride in our well kept, locally sourced ales and fine wines, to whet the appetites and suit all tastes.

Eat, Drink & Sleep At the Swan, Bampton

DA P PA The UK’s first and only version of grappa. Award winning and produced in South Devon


“Deep and mellow flavours. A clean distillation. Packed with fruit” Great Taste judges “A drink to sip and savour” IWSC judges

T. 01398 332248 E. Bampton | Tiverton | Devon | EX16 9NG



f /DevonDistillery T @devondistillery Tel: 01803 812 509 Email:



GREAT NEWS for organic junkies! At the end of last year, the European Parliament released a report based on the findings of several scientific studies stating that organic farming can develop systems that are good for our health. We’ve always been huge champions of the organic movement, but to now have high level endorsement of just how good organic is for you (as well as of all those environmental merits we like to bang on about) is terrific. The evidence revealed that: organic food helps reduce risks of allergens in children; reduces the likelihood of adult obesity, type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; ensures higher omega3 fatty acids in milk and meat; and reduces risk of antibiotic resistance. Luckily for us, there’s a host of brilliant organic producers in Devon offering the tastiest of produce to up the flavour of your food (see below). When buying, just look for the Soil Association label – the gold standard of organic certification. ✱


If you’re making the switch to go organic in 2017, add these top Devon suppliers and restaurants to your shopping list:

Eversfield Organic Farm, Okehampton EX20 4LB; Holy Cow, Smithalaigh PL7 5AY; Pipers Farm, Cullompton EX15 1SD; The Well Hung Meat Company, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0LY; Percy’s, Virginstow EX21 5EA; River Cottage, Axminster EX13 8TB; river Riverford Organic, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JQ;





Among the strangest looking denizens of the fruit bowl, the passion fruit was named for religious not rampant reasons, but retains some secret superpowers nonetheless… THE PASSION FRUIT’S an odd thing: imagine a brittle, lumpy egg that cracks open to reveal a fascinating, borderline revolting interior of membranous sacks, each full of crunchy seeds and a fragrant, sweet-yet-sour, juicy yellow pulp. It’s strong tasting, among the most alien-looking of tropical fruit – and a famous aphrodisiac. (Though, in all honesty, that rep probably comes from a misunderstanding of its name as much as anything else.) Passion fruit is actually a type of berry called a pepo – basically, berries with a hard outer rind – found across South America. It comes from a vine species of the passion flower, named not for saucy reasons but religious ones by Spanish missionaries trying to convert the locals to Christianity. The large white blooms with their purple centres reminded those guys of Christ’s crucifixion – and the ten petals and sepals (little leaves that look like petals) could be seen as symbolising the ten ‘good’ disciples, omitting mildly treacherous Peter and hugely treacherous Judas. These days it grows not just in Brazil, Argentina et al, but across the Caribbean, Africa, Southern Asia and Australia, even surviving in temperate climates like ours. As you’d expect, passion fruit contains plenty of A and C vitamins – as well as antioxidants, minerals like potassium, and fibre – making it plenty good for us. Though the deep purple (or, in some of the larger varieties, yellow) shells are inedible and naturally wrinkly, becoming even more so as they ripen, the gloopy stuff inside is anything but. Strained, the juice freezes well in an ice cube tray and, to make sure you get as much of it as you can, check the exteriors carefully. Generally, the wrinklier one is, the better it will taste – though you should avoid the

very wrinkly, over-ripe ones – and a strong tropical smell is another good sign. Give ’em a shake, too: the more liquid seems to be in there, the juicier it will be. But what to do with them? Well, the first thing to say is that a little bit of passion fruit goes a long way, but both seeds and pulp make a great addition to many cocktails (Martinis and Margaritas are just the start), and serve well in fruit juices or cordials. And then there are all the jams, jellies, creams, yoghurts, cheese cakes, syllabubs, fruit curds and mousses, too. (A good way to start experimenting with passion fruit: swap it for lemon in one of your favourite desserts.) And, like lemon, passion fruit can work in savoury dishes, adoring pork and sweet white fish like sea bass, especially if the recipe has an Asian flavour. Alternatively, like they do in Hawaii, just cut your passion fruit in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. (The tough rinds make it a very practical snacking fruit, and it can survive all day in a backpack.) All very delicious then, if not particularly passion-inducing. But wait! Two things to ponder. First, the leaves of at least one passion flower variety have been shown to make male mice very frisky indeed, perhaps because it contains so much crisin, a testosterone enhancer. And two, a few years ago some students in Bogata, Columbia apparently created ‘the passion pudding’ for a gastronomy fair. It mixed the fruit with Viagra, and one portion was claimed to produce the required effect in males, while females reported that “after a few minutes I started to smile.” Okay, so it was all a bit silly, and rather cheating – but then, aren’t aphrodisiacs all about cheating anyway?



This indulgent mousse is so light and fluffy, and is just as delicious with crushed fresh raspberries or blackberries swirled in INGREDIENTS

250g white chocolate, broken into pieces 75ml milk 1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out 3 free range eggs, separated 350ml whipping cream, whipped 4 passion fruit, halved and seeds scooped out fresh mint, shredded, to decorate METHOD

– Put the chocolate and milk in a heat-proof bowl placed over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Heat until the chocolate is just melted, stirring regularly. Stir the vanilla seeds into the mixture, then leave to cool for 5 minutes. – Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well as you add each one. – Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. – Whisk the eggs until they form soft peaks, then fold half into the chocolate mixture, followed by the other half. – Divide the mousse between 6 individual serving bowls, then swirl the passion fruit pulp over the top of each bowl. Cover, and chill for 3-4 hours until set. Decorate with mint before serving. ✱ This recipe was provided by the talented James and Chris Tanner at Barbican Kitchen. To sample more of their tasty dishes, visit the restaurant at 60 Southside Street, Plymouth PL1 2LQ; 01752 604448;



It’s a big air punch for Devon’s seafood restaurant group Rockfish, which has won Best Group Operator in the National Seafish Awards – and also took home the Good Catch Sustainability Award recently. Co-owner Mitch Tonks says, “This is fantastic news. There are challenges in growing a business but, for us, it is all about maintaining quality and being on a constant journey to be the very best we can be.” ✱


Renowned TV chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White will be opening a Steakhouse Bar and Grill in Plymouth this March. It’ll be located on the top floor of Armada Way’s Holiday Inn, and will serve up French classics, classy cocktails and, you guessed it, fat ol’ steaks. ✱


We’ll take any excuse to fill our faces, especially if it’s in the name of a good cause. So it’s good news that the Barbican Kitchen is running its Dine & Donate menu again to support Children’s Hospice South West. As well as new two- and three-course set menus, there’s the opportunity to hand over some moolah at this cool Plymouth eatery. ✱


Michelin chef John Burton-Race will be heading up the kitchen team at the newly refurbished Grosvenor Hotel Torquay, which opens on 10 February. Promising to bring some ‘Michelin magic’ to the Brasserie and Terrace, he’s promised to wow locals and tourists alike with his use of local ingredients. John said: “We’re so fortunate with the produce that’s on offer locally – the animal husbandry, the pastureland and the seafood of the county allows my menus to have a real seasonal focus. I’m already proud of the dishes we are planning to serve.” ✱


Get in on the #CrumbsSnaps tagging and your pic could be featured next month!


Huge congrats to all the fine Devonian cooking talents who picked up accolades at the South West Chef 2016 Awards – they’re definitely ones to watch in the forthcoming months. Jamie Coleman (pictured) from Saunton Sands Hotel won South West Chef of the Year; Exmouth’s Sue Stoneman took home gongs for Best Use of Regional Produce and South West Home Cook of the Year; and Shaun Cassidy at Jack in the Green won Best Dish. The competition was judged by the likes of Michael Caines, Paul Ainsworth and Michael Wignall. ✱


Dig out your lederhosen and stick a feather in your cap, for there’s a new Bavarian beer hall in town. The Bierkeller opens on 17 February on Exeter’s Quay, in what was formerly Pizza Stein. The alpine-style bar will have 26 different draught beers from Germany, the UK and the rest of Europe, all that you can pour yourself from mini five-litre table kegs if you’re settled in for a while. There’ll be halfpriced steins on the opening night.

Goat’s cheese mousse with beetroot and crouton crumbs @millbrookinnsouthpool

✱ Follow on Twitter @BierKellerExe


Polpo – the Italian baraco from London, brainchild of restaurateur Russell Norman – is coming to Exeter. More precisely, it’ll be opening at Queen St Dining in March, serving small plates and fine wines to the city’s coolest diners. This uber-chic eatery opened its first venture outside London in Brighton, then Bristol last year, and is now heading further south with its cool, loungey interiors and a chic bar serving all the finest Italian spritzes and cocktails. Small plates include octopus carpaccio with fennel and chilli and homemade parpadelle with rabbit and pancetta ragu. ✱

@naomiannedevlin shows off her probiotic pickles for @rivercottagehq

In the diary... (21 Feb) DINNER PARTY COOKERY COURSE Ace your dinner parties with a three-course menu you learn to make on this one-day course. It costs £165. ✱ (24 Feb) WINTER CURRY POP-UP The last winter curry pop-up supper club of the season takes place at Staverton Bridge Nursery, Dartington; £25. ✱ (24 Feb) FAULTY TOWERS THE DINING EXPERIENCE There’s a three course meal served ’70s-style, with a host of gags and gripes to boot, at Exeter Northcott; £52.50.



In the Larder 2





read aLL abOUt it This month we’ve rounded up all the edibles and drinkables that have been hitting the headlines in the local press

1 PASTY I UP Great British Crisp Company Cornish Pasty Crisps 75p/40g Pick up a packet of these tasty, salty snacks from your local Warrens Bakery. They’ve teamed up with the South West’s Great British Crisp Company to produce pasty-flavoured snacks that taste just like the moreish beefy, potatoey goodness you get in your usual pastry shell: it’s a savoury snack in an all-too-handy bag. ✱ greatbritishcrisp 2 FIZZ BIZ Sharpham Sparkling Blanc 2013 £25.50/75cl There’s much to celebrate in February. Aside from your pals’ birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and Christenings, it’s

and rapeseed oil and the new chilli flavour is even better than the original. What’s more, they’re now certified organic by the Soil Association. Buy locally from Ganesha Wholefoods. ✱

Valentine’s Day on the 14th, and there’s no better way to celebrate with your sweetheart than with a glass of Sharpham Sparkling Blanc 2013. It was the winner of the Taste of the West Awards 2016 champion drinks product in the wine, spirit and liquor category, thanks to its crisp taste and long, dry finish. ✱

4 FLOWER POWER Sandford Orchards Devon Farmhouse Cider with Elderflower Infusion £2.40/500ml Now here’s a cider that you need to get your chops around if you haven’t already, notably because it’s picked up an award for best flavoured cider at last year’s Quality Food Awards. It’s blended for M&S using cider apples grown within 30 miles of the press in Crediton, and has a refreshing twist of elderflower. Pick up your

3 PUT OUT TO SEA Clearspring Organic Chilli Seaveg Crispies 89p/5g These nori thins are often met with a bit of scepticism initially, but dive in and you’ll find you love the moreish snack. They’re good to eat on their own, or sprinkle over salads or noodles for added umami. They’re flavoured with sea salt, sesame


bottles now – we’ve heard spring is on its way! ✱ 5 LOOSEN UP Powderkeg Cut Loose £2.30/330ml Not heard of Powderkeg? The Woodbury Saltertonbased brewery has only been operating since 2015, but already it’s making international waves. First came the Speak Easy pale ale, but it’s the Cut Loose pilsner that has just picked up an accolade for best lager at the recent IWSC beer awards. Brewer John reckons it scooped the win because of a new breed of hop, called Motueka, they use, which infuses a subtle lemon and lime finish. Keep an eye out for it at Darts Farm, amongst other indies. ✱

Quality, fresh seafood, straight from our boats to your door We are a small, friendly wholesale fish business in Exmouth. All our fish is sourced locally with sustainable fishing methods. We also carry an extensive range of frozen goods. Our customers range from retail fishmongers, pubs, cafĂŠs and restaurants. We find a personal service between ourselves and the head chef ensures top quality fish and shellfish at the right price.

Devon Quality Fish

Established 1975

01395 266000


Ask the Expert

PACK YOur BaGS fOr CheeSe SChOOL 14

Got your pens packed? Your paper? Your live cultures? Welcome to no ordinary school. At the new Academy of Cheese, you’ll find more tasting than exam testing. It’s the brainchild of Mary Quicke – better known for the one and only Quicke’s dairy in Newton St Cyres – and if you want to know more about cheese, it’s the first place you should come… Hi, Mary! We’re really here to chat about the Academy of Cheese, but firstly – to get us warmed up – tell us a bit about Quickes, and all the cheeses you make… Our Cheddars range from one called Buttery, which is matured for three months, all the way to the granddad of them all, Quicke's Vintage Clothbound Cheddar, which is a rich, mellow cheese that’s matured for two years. It’s temptingly crumbly in texture, with an intense caramel taste. We produce an Oak Smoked Clothbound Cheddar, too, which is cold-smoked using oak from the trees on our estate. There’s also an award-winning Quicke’s goats’ milk cheese – it’s wonderfully pale, and rounded off with an almond nuttiness. Then there’s Quicke’s Devonshire Red, Quicke’s Double Devonshire, and the most recent of ours, Quicke’s Elderflower Clothbound Cheddar – a young, buttery cheddar that has the aromatic notes of real elderflower petals running through it. It gives a real taste of early summer. Phew, that sounds like a cheese board and a half. Have your cheeses always been this good? Our heritage starter cultures date back decades – they have high microbial diversity, which results in a spectrum of

complex flavours that industrial starters lack. These starters are more difficult to manage, and take two days of preparation to use, but they are one of the key building blocks that make Quicke’s cheese special. We have, over time, created a hybrid herd of cows to deliver the best quality milk, too. It takes four years from when you chose a breeding direction for that milk to become mature Cheddar. Everything is slowly and carefully managed – you simply can’t rush good cheese making. We’re in no rush. Tell us more… Producing world-class Cheddar is reliant on so many different factors. It’s like a giant living-and-breathing jigsaw! As well as the thoughtful breeding and starter cultures, it really matters what the cows eat. That might sound strange, but the more the cows graze at pasture, the better the grass-fed flavours, golden colour and luscious textures of the milk. Our cows are outside for 10 to 11 months of the year, as we operate a New Zealand grazing system. Hand Cheddaring also makes a big difference to the final flavour, as it presses out moisture and encourages just the right texture. The same goes for clothbinding and naturally maturing. Each stage requires all the care we lavish on our cheese in store – it’s a labour of love.


And we’re guessing we have a good head start in Devon when it comes to cheese making… Terroir makes a huge difference to cheese, in the same way it does with wine. Our ancient Devonshire pastures, woodlands and orchards have been cherished and nurtured for almost five centuries. As guardians of this landscape, we are responsible for protecting it for generations to come. The soil along the River Creedy valley is an especially rich, fertile loam, and grows lush grasslands that feeds our wonderful cows. As a result, no other cheese tastes quite like it. What do you think of the overall standard of cheese in the UK? As with any business sector, you’re always going to come across the good, the bad and the ugly. For my part, I am hugely proud of our British artisan cheese makers, who tend to be a very supportive group of dedicated individuals, who are keen to share their knowledge and experiences. There is so much variety, and there are people doing some really extraordinary things with cheese. What’s key is making sure that the British people get to know about all this wonderful diversity that’s on their doorstep. Interest around provenance has exploded in the past few years. There is more and more


Ask the Experts appreciation for the difference in flavour, and people buying into the ethos and stories that fuel artisan cheese makers. Secondly, grass-fed is another important trend. It is a more sustainable and ethical way of producing milk, and these benefits sit alongside a number of health claims, such as higher levels of Omega 3. Is that why we’re seeing local cheese more in restaurants? One of the greatest things about dairy is its endless versatility. Using a premium cheese has an impact on a finished dish. As a result, more chefs are using artisan cheeses in their recipes. Many restaurants specify on the menu which variety is being used, often with more detail about how and where it’s made – again, this goes back to celebrating food’s provenance. So if everything is so tasty good, why do we need an Academy of Cheese? I initially approached the Guild of Fine Food in 2013 with the idea of establishing a professional qualification for the cheese industry. The Guild already ran cheese retail courses, and they organise the annual World Cheese Awards, so they are well respected in the sector. As a cheesemaker, I have, over the years, been very fortunate to be asked to judge at numerous international cheese competitions. I’ve watched how the Certified Cheese Professional (CCP) in America has elevated the role of those in the cheese supply chain, and I thought we should aim to replicate that here. You want people to feel invested in what they do professionally, and the Academy of Cheese certification will help empower people who chose this career path. What do you think the biggest benefits to the food economy will be? Our first job was to ensure that there was a genuine need for the qualification, and that a nationally recognised standard would deliver actual benefits. Thankfully, from cheesemakers through to retailers and chefs – all the research came back positively. Having more experts on cheese matters about will mean that more cheese will be sold in better condition, and excellent staff will be retained in cheese because of their exemplary product and industry knowledge. We know that artisan food


makes a huge contribution to the British economy, and the Academy of Cheese accreditation provides an excellent opportunity to inspire talented people who have a real passion. We want to ensure a strong future for cheese, so that traditional makers stay and new innovation keeps on coming. And, equally importantly, consumers will become better informed about what they are buying and tasting. Okay, so how did you go about choosing the ‘professors’? Once I’d approached the Guild of Fine Food, we then spoke to other key industry figures. The Academy of Cheese committee consists of John Farrand and Jilly Sitch from the Guild of Fine Food, Tracey Colley from Harvey & Brockless, Ros Windsor of Paxton & Whitfield, Charlie Turnbull of Turnbulls Cheesemongers, Clare Downes of Monkhouse Food & Drink, and me. Each person has different strengths and experiences, so it’s a dynamic mix. We have also secured financial support from key players such as Bradbury's, Tesco, Harvey & Brockless, Cropwell Bishop Creamery, Wyke Farms, Bridgehead Foods, Lincolnshire Poacher, Lynher Dairies and Stitchelton Dairy. A worthy brigade! But who are the courses aimed at? There are four levels within the accreditation structure. So, entry Level One would appeal to anyone, be that cheesemaker, cheesemonger, chef, distributor or just an individual with a personal interest. The pinnacle of cheese expertise will be Level Four: Master of Cheese. This will be available in 2018, once students have progressed through the preceding courses. How long will each course take to complete? Level One is a complete study day with additional research/tasting/homework time. The examination will be taken online after this study day is completed. Level Two will typically be three days, and include more cheese tasting; Level Three will be about 100 hours of study and training (with lots of cheese tasting homework); and we’re still developing the content of the later courses. The Master of Cheese will be the first formal qualification

at this level, and will be developed in a similar way to how WEST runs the Master of Wine accreditation. The Academy won’t provide the courses, it will provide the accreditation; taught elements will be what providers offer. For Level Two and above, people will need to get some hands-on experience in the parts of cheese they don’t know. I guess you’re not going to be swapping dairy for soya anytime soon, then? I think there is much to be said for the old adage ‘everything in moderation’. Dairy products offer a range of health benefits. Younger children, particularly, need regular dairy intake as a foundation for strong bones and teeth – and I think it’s essential for everyone. Our milk has higher protein levels and the perfect balance of essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6. Quicke’s cheese is also rich in beta-carotene, vitamins A, D and E – all very good reasons to tuck into a wedge now and again. We don’t need any more reasons! How big is your dairy? And we’ve heard the cheese store is legendary... The farm covers 1,500 acres of pasture, arable and woodlands. Every day it takes 15 cows to produce enough milk to make one 27kg truckle of cheese. After the cheese is made in the dairy, it’s matured in the Quicke’s cheese cathedral, which can house 13,000 truckles at any one time. We’ve got a great team, which comprises around 40 people, engaged in our joint effort: the farm and cow team, cheesemakers, experts in storage and care


of cheese, our packing team and, finally, sales, marketing and administration. And what about the driving force – your four-legged beasts? First and foremost, our 500 cows are happy cows. The Quicke cow is a hybrid of Scandinavian Red, Kiwi Holstein, Friesian, Kiwi Friesan, Jersey, Montbeliarde and Brown Swiss. Each breed contributes a different facet – they’re robust, resilient, healthy, well-adapted and hardy, as well as efficient at converting grass to milk and delivering both high protein levels and good shape fat and protein. Perfect for making cheese! It all sounds too good. Anything troubling you at all at the mo? Export is a hugely significant percentage of our turnover. So Britain’s negotiations in leaving the EU and Single Market have potentially massive consequences for us. We’ll need our political class to surpass themselves here. Over the past three years, we’ve diligently grown Quicke’s exports by 75%, so to lose any of the traction we’ve gained would be damaging. Free trade doesn’t exist, except in economics textbooks. Therefore, we need to secure favourable trade agreements. The default WTO arrangements would impose a big tariff barrier, which would completely hammer our sales. ✱ If you’re keen to get involved in The Academy of Cheese in any way, visit To find out more about Quicke’s, visit


Askthe your waiter Ask Mixologist Who knows the menu best? Who makes the greatest impact on your experience? Who knows the drinks menu best? isWho whip up the ultimate liquid Front-of-house yourcan friend! refreshment? Front-of-house is your friend!

Oh, bravo! Welcome to the UK. What’s the best thing about working here? The best thing is, by far, the people. Coming from Italy with the goal to experience a new culture and improve my English, it was daunting at first, but the team I work with have become my family and I’ve shared some amazing experiences with them. There must be some other challenges that come with the job? It’s ensuring customers receive more than just a drink. It’s making sure they get exceptional customer service and a memorable experience, whether that’s through a recommendation of one of our 40-plus cocktails or a bespoke drink tailored to their preference.

MixinG it up

Fancy a drink? Barnstaple’s Raffaele Ragno at 62 The Bank will sort you out Hi, Raffaele! So tell us, how long have you been working at 62 The Bank? Since February. The new cocktail bar project had only just begun, so I’ve been at Bar62 since the beginning. And where were you at before? I was working in a very famous little restaurant, right next door to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

What skills have you learnt since coming here? I have learnt about new ingredients, as well as new processes and concepts. The standards that were set from the beginning were very high, so learning to work to these in a busy environment is a real skill. What sort of customers do you get in the bar? We get a real mix. As we are part of the Royal & Fortescue hotel, we get quite a few guests coming through to enjoy a cocktail or local craft beer, particularly midweek, as well as theatregoers looking for a pre- or post-show drink. At the weekend we have an influx of younger visitors, who love our cocktail selection and seasonal specials. What are the best-selling drinks? As it’s winter, we’re selling more of our short, intense cocktails such as Smoke & Mirrors – our take on an Old Fashioned – using Knob Creek bourbon, which is smoked with applewood and served under a glass cloche. Also, our Vintage Jam Bramble, a twist on the Bramble made with blackberry jam and


Plymouth Gin served in a vintage cup and saucer over crushed ice. Regardless of the time of year, we still sell lots of our Daiquiris – either strawberry or elderflower, which we are famous for, plus a lot of our dessert-themed cocktails like our Cupcake Mix Martini or Lemon Meringue Pie. And what about food? We have the bistro next door for meals, but in the bar we have a small, tapas-style offering with a focus on sharing plates, including arancini with chimmichurri, tiger prawns with chorizo and calamari with aioli – perfect to graze on over a drink. Have you noticed any recent drinks trends, and is the Barnstaple crowd especially into any of them? The world of mixology is evolving all the time, and seems to be moving very quickly at the moment. It’s all about balance, using only the finest liquids. We use the kitchen team to our advantage by involving them, and create recipes using seasonal ingredients our chefs can provide, such as infused spirits, syrups and quirky garnishes. I love thinking of new cocktails, and regularly create something seasonal for my managers to try – and, if we all agree it’s good, it will go on as a special. If you were a customer today, what would you order? As a whisky drinker, I would have to order the Smoke & Mirrors, just because of its incredible flavour, or, of course, that Italian classic the Negroni, which we make with Wicked Wolf Exmoor Gin. What’s in your drinks cabinet at home? A good bottle of Chianti, a mix of good bourbon and rye whiskies, and also Cornish Revolver Rum, which has roots in Colombia – where I was born. And in your fridge? I don’t get to cook too often, but I like to stay very healthy so there’s always fresh meat, fish and vegetables that I can cook simply.



mOTher’S day hOTSpOTS If your cooking’s never going to live up to Mum’s, it’s probably best to take her out… A MEAL AND A MOSEY AT THE BEDFORD HOTEL



Why you should treat your mum: Of course mums are special every day of the year, but it’s nice to give them an extra-special treat on Mother’s Day to show just how much you care. And everyone loves a perfect lunch! Why bring her to The Bedford? The historic Bedford Hotel in the heart of the award-winning market town of Tavistock is a great choice for an indulgent Mother’s Day lunch, thanks to its top-notch food prepared using the finest ingredients from Devon’s farmers, fishermen and producers, all served in warm, welcoming surroundings. Gather for drinks in the comfortable bar or lounges, then settle down for three superb courses. There’s free parking just behind the hotel, so you can then make a day of it with a walk around town or through the nearby Meadows riverside park. Three courses costs £24 (children eat for £16).

Why you should treat your mum: Think of everything she’s done for you in your lifetime... this is the day to show your love and appreciation! Why treat her at The Horn? You can make this Mother’s Day one to remember with a three-course lunch, and a bunch of fresh daffodils for all the ladies. There’s fine dining in the two AA-rosette restaurant on the DevonCornwall border, with fabulous views overlooking the Tamar Valley. Lunch is £29.50 per person (or dinner, bed and breakfast for £179 per room). Choose from dishes like Vulscombe goat’s cheese, heritage beetroot and candied hazelnut to start, smoked haddock with a Fowey mussel and bacon chowder for mains, and rhubarb custard tart with gingerbread ice cream for pud.

Why you should treat your mum: Mums are the unsung heroes of the world, without a pay cheque (or the numerous ‘thank yous’ they deserve), so that’s why, at the very least once a year, we should remember how amazing a mum is. Why bring her to The Jubilee Inn? If your mum is a lady who likes the high life, then she’ll be super-keen for this offer. The Jubilee Inn is serving a ‘Perfectly Pink’ luxury Champagne tea on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 March from 11am-12noon and 2.30pm-6pm; £24.50 each or £45 for two people. Everything is pink themed – pink finger sandwiches, homemade pink scones, strawberry clotted cream, homemade pink cake, mini pink desserts with a pot of tea and a glass of Brut Rose Pierre Gobillard Premier Cru. It’s advance bookings only, and £5 will be donated per booking to Breast Cancer Research.

✱ The Horn of Plenty, Gulworthy, Tavistock PL19 8JD;

✱ The Bedford Hotel, Plymouth Road, Tavistock PL19 8BB;

✱ The Jubilee Inn, West Anstey, South Molton EX36 3PH;



The freshest, most inspirational cookbooks of the month


ISBN 978-1-910690-31-4


9 781910 690314




Over a million cups of Bristol-based Pukka Herbs’ tea are consumed every day – probably more during January, when most of us are sticking to healthy New Year’s resolutions. Written by Pukka Herbs founder Sebastian Pole – a trained practitioner in Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine and western herbalism – this book brings together 70 herbal tea recipes using dried and fresh herbs for health, well-being and flavour. From helping you to sleep to supporting your digestion and rebooting your energy levels, the book provides a fascinating insight into how herbal tea can be tailored to different needs. Not that there isn’t room for some fun, as the recipe for Winter Tonic Elixir demonstrates, with its warming blend of brandy and Amaretto combined with all those herbs and spices.

With around a third of ‘on the go’ meals eaten at work or school, nutritious, delicious (and cheaper) homemade lunches are big business. Much more than the wafer-thin ham sandwich and packet of crisps from yesteryear, the new supercharged lunchbox can be a beautiful thing, as the 75 recipes in this book demonstrate. Aimed at kids and adults alike, the book is divided into chapters on sandwiches, wraps and rolls; salad jars, bowls and bentos; soups and hot food; savouries; snacks; and ‘something sweet’. Inspired options include avocado and chickpea wraps; marinated mushroom, crispy kale and rice salad; vegetable broth with chicken and kaffir lime; and orange, cardamom and hemp-seed muffins. With so many imaginative ideas, you’ll never buy another dreary supermarket sandwich for lunch.

Ryland Peters & Small, £14.99

Uri Scheft Artisan Books, £25

Sebastian Pole Frances Lincoln, £20


Uri Scheft is the DanishIsraeli master baker behind the highly regarded Lehamim Bakery in Tel Aviv, and Breads Bakery in New York. Here, the Nutellafilled babkas have attained cult status, and the potato and shakshuka focaccia and chocolate rugelach are pulled out the ovens several times an hour for waiting crowds. Breaking Breads combines the many cultural influences of his life: Middle Eastern flavours and traditions, European pastry techniques, and baking experience from Italy and Istanbul. There are 100 recipes for flatbreads, stuffed breads, challahs and biscuits, with detailed instructions and clear step-by-step photographs on mixing, kneading and proofing. Very much a book aimed at experienced home bakers, it’s a fascinating collection of recipes of globally inspired bread products.




THE FIVE SEASONS KITCHEN Pierre Gagnaire Grub Street, £25

Voted ‘best chef in the world’ by his peers, Pierre Gagnaire is celebrating 50 years in the kitchen – and what better way to mark this impressive milestone than a collection of his best dishes? Why five seasons? Well, Gagnaire says spring must be divided into two, because the produce at the beginning is very different to what you get at the end. Each chapter has six seasonal three-course menus created from 90 dishes in Gagnaire’s extensive repertoire. A typical winter menu, for example, kicks off with a starter of Puy green lentil soup and foie gras, moves on to a main course of shimizu chicken supreme with avocado, pink grapefruit, green apple and celery, and then finishes with butternut squash, Medjool dates and fresh grapes infused in cinnamon syrup.


Simon Poffley and Gaba Smolinksa-Poffley Frances Lincoln, £20

As well as being the founder of London’s Left Bank Brewery, Simon Poffley teaches sourdough bread baking and runs fermenting and preserving workshops at The Fermentarium with Polish-born Gaba, who is also a keen forager. In their first book, the couple teach us how to preserve foods using centuries-old methods and then how to use those preserved ingredients in a range of contemporary dishes. Aimed as much at beginners as seasoned preservers, the book explains everything you need to know about equipment, sterilising and sealing. Recipes include pulled pork with swede mash, grilled nectarines and honey-pickled garlic; pickled oranges, spiced cuttlefish and squid ink linguini; and dried fruit pickled in brandy. A fascinating book that uses ancient methods to create ultra-modern dishes.

From: THE FIVE SEASONS KITCHEN Pierre Gagnaire Grub Street, £25



6 heads of chicory, all of the same grade 1 lemon, juice only 60g butter, diced, plus extra for the filling and for frying pinch sugar 1 shallot, chopped 6 dried apricots, diced 30g golden raisins, soaked in water and drained 1 tbsp breadcrumbs 12 chives, scalded 500ml double cream 120g Parmesan, grated 2 tbsp Noilly Prat vermouth


– Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. – Arrange the chicory in a casserole dish, then fill the dish with water and the lemon juice until half submerged. Add the diced butter and the sugar and season lightly with salt. Cover with baking paper and bring to a low boil. Then place the lid on top and transfer to the oven for 30-40 minutes. – Check that the chicory heads are cooked by piercing with a knife: it should slide in easily. Drain and leave to cool before opening the chicory out flat and removing some of the flesh from the centre. – Brown the shallot in butter, while you chop the chicory hearts, then add them in and


cook until they release their water. Remove from the heat, then add the apricots, raisins and breadcrumbs. Season and mix together. – Divide the filling between the chicory heads, then roll each one up and secure with a few knotted chives. Melt a little butter until brown, then use to colour the chicory. – In a saucepan, reduce the cream by half, then add the Parmesan and the Noilly. Season with salt and pepper, if required. – Preheat the oven to 160C/315F/gas mark 3. Transfer the Parmesan cream sauce to a gratin dish, place the chicory on top and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

( advertising feature )



Don’t wait till summer to get glugging these fine local tipples – they’re the perfect accompianment to your favourite foods at any time of year


e all know about matching food with wine, and more recently with craft beers. Now the season of food and drink festivals is upon us our imaginations are getting into gear, and we’re on the lookout for inspiration from chefs, producers and places to eat out. Don’t forget – a good evening’s not only about the food, but the quality of the drink too. At home we at Ashridge enjoy our Ashridge Cider with everyday meals too (we like to call this quality control!) Our firm favourite is cider with seafood and chips or a curry. As it turns out, fish and chips goes down a treat with a cold, crisp cider. And it’s blinding with curry. Lots of people are cooking the Eastern favourites at home these days – ranging from fragrant Thai curries to hot and spicy Indian versions, and nothing goes better with them than a full-bodied cider. Wine can be spoilt by a curry, but the sharp, clean flavours of cider work so well. Try it and see! Cider and cheese is an old favourite flavour combination. There are some fantastic British cheeses being produced right now, and they are perfect partners for a fine Devon cider. And what’s better than a pizza with a nice cold glass of our Devon Gold cider? You’ll find it in lots of bars as well as at Stable Pizza restaurants in Exeter, London, Cornwall, Devon, Bristol and along the south coast. So, why do people mainly like to drink cider in the summer? We don’t know the answer because we like it all year round, with food and without! Answers on a postcard please!; @AshridgeCider; 01364 654749

Weekday lunch offer Order any two courses and get a glass of wine per person free. Reservations only. Mention this offer when booking




North Hill Village, Cornwall, PL15 7PG 01566786916


Highlights RICE BOWL

Here’s a crowd-pleasing risotto you’ll make more than once Page 24


Cook the perfect rump steak, like our pals at Jack in the Green Page 26

SWISS NOMS Try saying ‘no’ to The Devon Cook’s fried cheesy nibbles Page 28

Celeriac is the new potato. (But shhh! Don’t tell that to Matthew, on p56)



1 bit of Gruyère that got kicked to the snowy kerb (p29)

RICe TO eaT YOU! Chef director Darrin Hosegrove of Ashburton Cookery School gives Italian oomph to this creamy winter risotto

Risotto is probably a bit of a staple in your gaff, but have you ever thought of how to elevate it to a dinner partyworthy dish? Firstly, you need to get the risotto base just right, and that means taking your time over the cooking to get the consistency perfectly creamy and the flavour exactly balanced. Here, chef Darrin from Ashburton Cookery School has given you all the easy stepby-steps you’ll need to get it right every time. Then it’s all about the toppings. Adding original ingredients to give your risotto a bit of finesse and visual appeal will keep your guests talking… Here, a topping of good and garlicky wild mushrooms and shredded sage gives extra, earthy Italian flavour, while the sliced pear and crushed Amaretti biscuit help add texture and interest.


50g unsalted butter 50g chopped onion 100g small diced butternut squash (skin removed) 100g Carnaroli rice 100ml dry white wine 500ml vegetable stock (warmed up) 1 ripe Conference pear 1 clove chopped garlic 75g cleaned prepared wild mushrooms 25g grated fresh Parmesan cheese 2 crushed Amaretti biscuits, crushed 1 tsp fresh shredded sage shaved Parmesan, to serve


– Melt 25g of the unsalted butter in a good quality, heavy-based pan. – Add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt and cook gently for approx 2 minutes. – Add the diced butternut squash and continue to cook over a low heat. – Add the rice and cook for 2 minutes, or until the rice turns transparent. – Add the dry white wine and continue to cook until it has completely evaporated. – Start adding the warm vegetable stock a little at a time, allowing the rice to absorb it each time. – Stir continuously while adding the stock, and simmer for approx 20 minutes. The risotto should now have the look of a rice pudding consistency. Take off the heat and allow to stand. – Peel the pear and cut into four equal wedges. Remove the pips and cut the pear into slices at an angle. – Pan-fry the wild mushrooms and garlic over a high heat in a little oil and drain onto kitchen paper. – Add the grated Parmesan to the warm risotto, stir through, and then remove the risotto from the heat. – Add the remaining butter in small pieces and stir until it is well emulsified into the risotto and it has a nice creamy consistency. Taste, and add seasoning if required. – Serve immediately into bowls and top with a scattering of cooked wild mushrooms, sliced pear, crushed Amaretti biscuits, shredded sage and shaved Parmesan to garnish. ✱ ASHBURTON COOKERY SCHOOL, Old Exeter Road, Ashburton TQ13 7LG; 01364 652784;






Head chef Matthew Mason of Jack in the Green says ‘simply does it’ when it comes to steak

GivinG yOu the ruMp

Rump is still my favourite steak, writes Matthew, especially the ones we get at the Jack. Thick-cut to our own specification, each one is almost like a mini roasting joint. As nature would have it, every steak cut from the rump will differ slightly – unlike say, a sirloin, and to some degree a fillet. Nonetheless a good rump is still magnificent, and offers wonderful value for money. Good meat needs very little by way of accompaniment, perhaps a little mustard or a dollop of horseradish. We have opted for a classic, warming combination here, but I find the hugely underrated celeriac also works wonderfully well with chicken and venison. It is also worth noting that this purée recipe will work with many other root vegetables; for example, butternut squash or Jerusalem artichokes. The recipe is taken from The Jack Cook Book; £5 from every sale goes to FORCE Cancer in Exeter. This recipe is taken from The Jack Cook Book, £25. Buy from the restaurant itself, Darts Farm at Topsham, or Christopher Piper Wines in Ottery St Mary


100g butter, diced 2 shallots, finely chopped 1 celeriac, peeled and diced 150ml milk 100ml double cream 4 x 250g thick-cut rump steaks 50g unsalted butter sprig of thyme garlic clove, crushed METHOD

– To make the purée, melt half the butter in a heavy based saucepan, add the shallots and gently fry without colour. – Add the diced celeriac, a good pinch of salt and pepper, and again cook without colour for 4-5 minutes over a low heat. – Add the milk and double cream, bring to the boil and cook until the celeriac is tender (approx 10-15 minutes). It is worth saving a little of the cooking liquor back because, if the purée is a little thick, you can always add a touch more. If it is too thin, of course, then it is celeriac soup for lunch tomorrow! – Separate the celeriac from the cooking liquor with a sieve and place in a blender, being careful not to overfill the jug. Add the remaining butter and a little of the cooking liquor as you go, and blend in batches until smooth.


– Season to taste, and pass the purée through a fine sieve into a clean pan. – Allow the steaks to come to room temperature before cooking. Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium to high heat and drizzle in a little vegetable oil. Heavily season the rumps with salt and freshly ground pepper (I like a coarse mix of white, black and pink peppercorns). – Fry for 1-2 minutes on each side until a rich golden colour has been achieved. Place on an ovenproof tray in a preheated oven at 180C for a further 3-4 minutes for medium rare, or longer if you want it more cooked. The time may vary according to the thickness of your steak. – Remove from the oven and return to the frying pan. Add the butter, thyme and garlic and fry over a medium heat in the butter until foaming, spooning the nut-brown butter and residual meat juices over the now-cooked meat. Remove from the heat and rest in the butter momentarily, until needed. (Be aware that the residual heat from the pan will continue to cook the steak.) – Reheat the celeriac purée and divide between four plates. Slice the cooked rump steaks into thick, even slices and arrange neatly over the purée. – For extra indulgence, drizzle with truffle oil and serve with fresh seasonal vegetables, some chips on the side, and perhaps a roast baby artichoke. ✱ JACK IN THE GREEN, Rockbeare, Nr Exeter EX5 2EE; 01404 822240;

The Devon Cook


maLakOff Devon cook Orlando Murrin shares a superb speciality from snowy Switzerland, and gives it a local twist

Food styling and photography by ANGELA NILSEN



his month’s recipe comes to you thanks to a great piece of luck. It all started last September in the unlikely setting of Exeter’s Princesshay, where artist Amy Shelton was unveiling her Honeyflow Light Box. (If you haven’t yet discovered this amazing piece of public art yet, check it out: it’s behind HMV, opposite Princesshay Customer Services.) You may not know this, but high above the shopping centre is a flower-filled roof garden buzzing with around 100,000 bees. Guests to the unveiling were invited to see this amazing spectacle, and I found myself talking to well-known Exeter gardener and one-time smallholder Patti O’Brien. We started talking about honey, then – it may have been the altitude – moved on somehow to the cooking of Switzerland. (Patti is half-Swiss.) “Oh!” she said, and her eyes went misty. “Malakoffs!” I asked Patti to explain. “They’re a cheesy dish, made in just two villages on the northern shore of Lake Geneva, Bursins and Vinzel. I remember them as holiday treats when I was a girl. I used to walk down to the local laiterie to buy my grandfather’s favourite Tomme Vaudoise. I can see it now – the Simmental cows ambling through the village, bells jangling, then pausing to drink at the village fountain. That water is the best in the world – it gushes straight down from the mountains.” The story goes that Malakoffs were invented at the request of Napoleon III to welcome home Swiss mercenaries after their victorious battle in the Crimea in 1855, in which the Russians were routed by the French-English alliance. (It may sound a little far-fetched, but quite a few dishes are said to have been born on or near the battlefield, including mayonnaise, chicken Marengo and beef Wellington.) I enjoy a challenge, and decided to recreate Patti’s childhood treat for her. It wasn’t easy: the Swiss love keeping things secret, and for obvious reasons the restaurants in question are not giving anything away. After many attempts, I felt confident enough to ask Patti to sample the results. Her enthusiasm was touching. At the end of last October I demonstrated the dish at the Dartmouth Food Festival on behalf of Crumbs Devon, and spectators were literally begging me for the recipe. I am delighted to share it with you now.


A malakoff is best described as deep-fried cheese fondue on toast. A grated cheese mixture is domed on a circle of bread, then deep-fried for 2-3 minutes till dark golden. Allow to cool for just a minute, then eat while crunchy on the outside, still oozing in the middle. Continue to cook in batches till they’re all eaten (making them is rather like making pancakes). Malakoffs are very moreish, and – in Switzerland – you tend to eat two or three in succession, as a first course. Because they are extremely rich, they tend to be followed by a simple fish main course (in Switzerland, filets de perche) and cherries in brandy. Malakoffs are traditionally made with that local Swiss cheese, Gruyère. Patti agrees, however, that they are quite as delicious when made with vintage Devon Cheddar – and if it is aged and a little crumbly, so much the better.



You cannot beat the traditional accompaniments, which are cornichons (and the tiny onions that often come in the jar with them), and slices of air-dried ham or bresaola. The meat needs to be lean and wafer thin.


In Switzerland you will be served a crisp local white, such as Chasselas. The Swiss do not export their wines widely, so a Touraine Sauvignon would be a good alternative. Best of all, I would recommend a dry Devon white. I have fallen in love with Lyme Bay’s Shoreline – a crisp, complex white wine, pale in colour with enticing citrus notes; it’s widely available for under £13, and harmonises beautifully with the cheesy goodness.

( the devon cook )


If you don’t have one already, I would recommend buying a deep frying thermometer, which clips to the side of the pan, for this recipe. (It can also be used as a jam thermometer.)


8 slices of medium-sliced white sandwich bread For the cheese mixture 2 tbsp plain flour ¼ tsp salt and freshly ground black pepper ⅛ tsp finely grated nutmeg 400g Devon Cheddar, such as Quicke’s or Keen’s, finely grated (ideally using the grating disc of a food processor) 2 large eggs 1 small clove garlic, crushed or grated 1 tbsp Kirsch or dry white wine 1 large egg white, beaten with a fork 1.5-2 litres rapeseed oil, for frying cornichons and air-dried ham or bresaola, for serving METHOD

– Preheat oven to 180C (160 fan)/350F/ gas mark 4. Use a plain 3in cutter to cut a disc from each of the bread slices. Arrange the disks on a baking sheet and bake until dry and slightly shrunk but not toasted, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool. – For the cheese mixture, stir the flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together in a medium mixing bowl. Add the cheese and use your hands, fingers splayed apart, to toss the cheese and flour mixture together until evenly mixed; use the same light touch as making pastry. – In a jug, whisk the eggs, garlic, and Kirsch together, then use a rubber


spatula to scrape the egg mixture over the cheese and flour. Fold the liquid and cheese lightly together, without kneading, to form a stiff paste. – Generously brush one of the bread disks with egg white and place one eighth of the cheese mixture on it. Use the palm of your hand, or a small metal offset spatula, to shape the cheese mixture into an even dome (a bit like a Tunnock’s Tea Cake), taking the cheese right to the edge of the bread. Repeat with the remaining bread discs and cheese mixture. – Let the Malakoffs dry at room temperature for 1 hour. For advance preparation, cover and refrigerate but bring back to room temperature 1 hour before frying. – When you are ready to serve the Malakoffs, have heated plates and accompaniments ready. Heat the oil to 175C. Put 2 or 3 Malakoffs in the oil, bread side down and fry, turning over (although sometimes they turn themselves over), for a total of 2-3 minutes, until deep golden brown. Keep an eye on the oil temperature, so it doesn’t continue heating and overcook the cheese. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lift the Malakoffs to a plate lined with paper towels to drain for a minute, then serve immediately. Warn guests that they may be hot in the middle! ✱ ORLANDO MURRIN is a food writer and chef. He wrote daily recipes for the Express newspaper before becoming editor of BBC Good Food and founder of Olive magazine. He has written five cookbooks, including the No Cook Cookbook and A Table in the Tarn, and lives in Exeter.

Winter Getaway Dinner, bed and breakfast just £159 per room, per night! Includes 3 course dinner in our multi award winning 2AA rosette restaurant. Enjoy overnight accommodation followed by a hearty full English breakfast. Offer valid throughout February 2017 (excluding Saturdays and 14th February). Or stay in March for just £179.

The Horn of Plenty Country House Hotel and Restaurant, Gulworthy, Tavistock, Devon PL19 8JD

T: 01822 832528

Sign up for one of our gourmet food boxes full of wonderful artisan West Country produce RFUL From just £29 a box ONDE • Choose from four box sizes containing unique varied treats each time • Let us choose your produce for you or make your own food box


• Food boxes can be ordered weekly, fortnightly or monthly or as a one off • Boxes are dispatched within 48 hours • Secure online payments with Paypal or Go Cardless

Or come and visit our new shop...


Join in on one of our tasting sessions where you can sample some of the local produce. Collect your pre-ordered food box in store and see what special offers are available. Open Monday to Saturday 10am -5pm 6 McCoys Arcade, Fore Street, Exeter EX43AN

10% o ff yo u r firs t o rder and e ver y 10th b ox f re e ( AB10 ) 01392 826209 Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest



It may only be February, but Phillip Bradshaw from The Racehorse Inn is already going baa-my for lamb

StiCK yer neCK Out Before taking up his position as head chef at The Racehorse Inn gastro pub in North Hill village at Launceton, Phillip Bradshaw worked as sous chef at Alex Polizzi’s Hotel Endsleigh in Milton Abbot. He is now, we reckon, firmly on course to collect a few awards for his amazing flavours – and, indeed, only recently he won his first Silver from Taste of the West 2016 for his first year’s work at his new home, which sits on the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. Here’s a tasty plate to warm up a chilly day.

2 beetroot (use 2 different types, if you can)




For the red cabbage purée ¼ red cabbage 1 knob butter 200ml port 200ml red wine 1 tsp caster sugar For the pickled red cabbage 100ml red wine 100ml red wine vinegar 1 star anise 1 bay leaf 100g caster sugar ¼ red cabbage

For the pearl barley 2 shallots, diced 1 clove garlic, minced 200g pearl barley 50ml white wine 750ml hot chicken stock 200ml reduced lamb stock 50g braised lamb, shredded (any braised lamb will do) 1 lamb neck fillet For the red cabbage purée – Shred the red cabbage as finely as you can, then add a knob of butter to a pan. Add the red cabbage and sweat on a low heat until soft, trying not to alter the colour of the cabbage. Once the cabbage is soft, add the red wine and port and reduce to a sticky syrup. Once reduced, add the sugar and blitz in a blender until smooth. Set aside. For the pickled cabbage – Add the red wine, red wine vinegar, star anise, bay leaf and sugar to a pan and bring to the boil. Meanwhile, shred the cabbage finely. Once the liquor has come to the boil, take off the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add the cabbage and set aside.


For the beetroot – Boil in water until a knife will easily pass through the beetroot, then remove the skin and chop.   For the pearl barley – Sweat the shallots and garlic on a medium heat. Once softened, add the pearl barley then the white wine. Once the wine has been absorbed, slowly add the chicken stock, adding it little by little until it’s all absorbed. When the pearl barley is tender, add the reduced lamb stock and braised lamb. Season to taste.   For the lamb neck fillet – Heat a pan to a medium temperature with some vegetable oil. Season the lamb, then place in the pan. Turn it to ensure you get an even colour on all sides. Add a knob of butter and turn the heat down. Transfer to an oven and cook for 4 minutes at 180C.   To serve – Warm the components, and plate up as shown.

✱ THE RACEHORSE INN, North Hill, Launceston PL15 7PG; 01566 786916;

( advertising feature )

A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY Fresh markets await local, artisan producers, thanks to the arrival of a brand new global export service


he UK’s food and drink industry has a world-renowned reputation for excellence and innovation, with a wealth of different products exported to overseas markets every year. In fact, exports of food and drink products increased by almost six percent in 2016 compared to the previous year, with over ten billion pound’s worth of UK food and drink sold overseas in the last seven months alone. And it’s not just big brands benefiting from this appetite for our products; increasingly, small and specialist producers are attracting customers from other countries, too. The South West in particular has a rich array of traditional and artisan food and drink businesses, all of which are well placed to take advantage of the opportunities available to export their goods overseas – and many already are. From artisan chocolatiers to traditional cider makers and family businesses creating farmhouse chutneys, food and drink producers across the region are finding that UK products are big business overseas. Exporting can seem daunting, but there is help at hand with the launch of FoodEx, a brand new initiative set up by Business West specifically to attract both and support new and existing exporters Through FoodEx, businesses can access a team of experienced advisers who will provide advice on everything from finding the right market for their product to managing logistics. FoodEx also runs regular workshops led by specialists in overseas trading which focus on


helping businesses develop a realistic export plan, including finding the right target markets. As well as receiving support and advice, businesses can promote their products via the FoodEx Directory, which connects them with hundereds of selected international food and drink buyers. Businesses simply submit details and images of their products, and their profile is then distributed to buyers, businesses and trade officers in the right target market. Paul Abley, Senior DIT International Trade Adviser at Business West says: “The size of your business shouldn’t be a barrier to export. If you are selling to a retailer or distributor in the next town there is no reason why you shouldn’t also be looking for opportunities in Europe, the US or anywhere else in the world. “We work with businesses who sell small quantities of products, maybe just a few hundred pounds worth, to customers overseas. Some of those have ambitions to grow the volume of exports while others simply want to broaden their customer base. “We created FoodEx to help local producers kick-start their export journey, whatever their size or ambitions, and then support them as they explore the many opportunities available.”

There are many exciting opportunities for producers of all types and sizes; to find out more about the support on offer from FoodEx register your interest at or phone 01297 370944.

( advertising adverti sing feature )



uscombe Drinks is a family business based in Buckfastleigh. The business took root in the 1970s when founder Julian David began making cider from the apples in his orchard. Today the business, now overseen by his son Gabriel, produces an award-winning range of 23 premium soft drinks, juices, crushes, ginger beers, bubblies and a cider. For many years the business remained firmly planted in the UK, with raw ingredients harvested from its own orchards and trusted growers and distributed to delis, independents and restaurants across the UK. In 2007 that all changed when an approach from a distributor from the Netherlands led to the business’s first overseas contract. Since then demand from overseas customers has grown, with products being sold across Europe as well as the USA, Dubai, China and Hong Kong. Today export accounts for around 10 percent of its business. Gabriel is quick to point out that despite being well established in the UK market they needed help to start

them on their export journey, turning to their local Department for International Trade office for help and support. He says: “We’ve worked with a number of advisers whose guidance and expert advice was invaluable to a smaller company with no international expertise such as ourselves. We have also been able to access grants and funding to help support international trips, meet potential new customers and to attend overseas trade shows and events. “Recognition of Luscombe’s drinks and the brand has grown dramatically since we first started exporting and continues to do so. Our drinks have become extremely desirable abroad due to their superior quality, taste and the complex flavour combinations we offer. “With the continued support of our advisers we are very keen to continue to grow our export markets through securing new customers, not only from Europe, but also further afield.”



ittlePod was launched in May 2010, inspired by founder Janet Sawyer’s desire to encourage people to use real vanilla when cooking rather than the synthetic essences so readily available. With a product range in place Janet attended trade shows across the country and quickly built up a loyal customer base of farm shops and delis as well as local chefs and restaurants. It was at a trade show that Janet was approached by the first of many international buyers keen to distribute sa her products overseas. Janet says: “It was never our intention to export, but the reaction we received from overseas buyers led us to rethink our strategy and embrace the opportunities to take our products to a much wider audience.” With a growing international customer base Janet realised she needed some additional support and so she attended an event for new exporters delivered by the Department for International Trade and Business West West. Since then she has worked with a number

of local international trade experts to create an export strategy that has taken the LittlePod story and its products all over the world. “The most important thing we realised was that we didn’t have to do it all by ourselves! As a small company it can be rather overwhelming dealing with the many rules and regulations around exporting food products, but we soon realised that there is a great deal of support out there for new and first time exporters. We’ve been given help and guidance every step of the way. “We’ve found 'meet the buyer' events particularly helpful and have also made use of the various tools on offer to research particular markets.” Today LittlePod employs 13 people at its HQ in Farringdon and offers a wide range of products from vanilla pods, paste and extract, to vanilla beer and even a vanilla recipe book. Their newest product is a vanilla beer ice cream which has already generated interest from the UK and beyond. LittlePod currently exports its products to 15 countries with ambitions to take its range, and the LittlePod story to many more. Janet continues: “Exporting our products hasn’t just boosted our sales, it’s given us the scope and confidence to develop our product range and provided us with a platform to tell the story of real vanilla.”

35 51

Join the FoodEx programme today and gain exclusive access to ‘Meet the Buyer’ events and opportunities, where a host of international buyers come to the UK looking for new British products just like yours. Start boosting your sales and profits with FoodEx.

THE JUBILEE INN Outstanding fine dining • Luxurious accommodation Spectacular location • Exemplary service

Exmoor Food Festival (February 2017) Tuesday-Thursday lunchtimes, we will be offering a select menu at £10 for 2 courses & £15 for 3. Limited availability. Booking advised. Weddings & Celebrations From ceremony to reception, we can help you arrange the most magical day for your wedding, vow renewals or celebrations. Mother’s Day (26 March 2017) Enjoy our special guest accommodation packages and menus throughout the weekend. Full details on our website.

A quarterly mag on all things cooking outdoors Recipes • Reviews • Ideas • Inspiration

free to subscribe

Easter Celebrations Offering luxurious accommodation and fine dining packages over the Easter break. Early booking advised. See website for details.

Tel. 01398 341401 West Anstey, South Molton, Devon, EX36 3PH


JUICE ALMIGHTY Seems like the 1950s never go out of fashion, doesn’t it? This thing’s got that old-school vibe you see in so much Italian design these days. It all looks great, I grant you, but it’s so… codified. Like something that was modern in the past but no longer is, and is now just reproduced endlessly. Some of what you say is true, I suppose – much of Italian design is flashy and highly polished, yes, but intrinsically conservative too – but as far as Smeg’s retro-modern ’50s-style range is concerned at least, that’s deliberately, gloriously so. Modern technology is hidden behind ice cream colours and Lambretta lines to winning effect, not least in the seasonally relevant SJF01 Slow Juicer. It’s just the job for extracting the very best from every virtuous fruit and veggie you chuck inside. What makes it ‘slow’, exactly? I want fast, surely. (Hey, we all lead busy lives!) What makes it ‘slow’ is its spiritual alignment with the ‘slow food movement’ – basically, the polar opposite to fast food. Slow food is obsessed with regional, traditional cuisine and small, sustainable businesses – and is generally antiglobalisation, anti-pesticides and anti-monoculture. And it’s an Italian invention too, first appearing in the mid’80s in opposition to the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome. So it’s not physically slow, just... spiritually slow? Actually, with this thing it’s both, as the Slow Juicer operates at what we’re told is an optimal 43rpm, which is just enough to squeeze your ingredients into juice without crushing the cells within them, or damaging their nutrients and enzymes through necessary heat. The


Stylistic cousin to the Vespa and the Fiat 500 it may be, but don’t underestimate the Smeg Slow Juicer, says Matt Bielby. It offers more than just Amalfi Coast-friendly good looks… whole process is called Slow Squeezing Technology, or SST, and – as you might expect – it has a little ‘TM’ next to it.

✱ The Smeg Slow Juicer comes at £449.99, and is available from John Lewis and branches of Currys in Exeter;

Clever, I suppose, in a conventional sort of a way. Actually, I think it’s just clever full stop. The colours this thing comes in are great – pick from cream, black, red and pastel blue – but it’s also quite an interesting shape, with both a vertical loading mechanism and a ‘juice density regulator’ that allows you to customise exactly how much pulp you have in your glass. It works with soft and hard fruits, most vegetables and leafy greens, and squeezes more juice out of each piece than other methods would, too. Blimey! You’ll be telling me it’s easy to clean next. Actually, it is. And it also minimises crushed fruit’s exposure to oxygen, stopping any browning of the flesh and making for fresh juices that can be happily stored in your fridge for up to 48 hours. A ’50s-style Smeg fridge, no doubt? Just the thing. If that wouldn’t be too predictable for you…?





House call


Only a year into her cider-making business, and young Polly Hilton’s already bagging awards. We pay her a visit to find out why, and sneak a peek round her outrageously hip home at the same time… Words by CHARLIE LYON Photos by MATT AUSTIN



( house call )



Find & Foster: it’s a quirky name for a cider business that you probably wouldn’t think too much about unless you met founder Polly Hilton and heard her story. Only then does its significance become apparent. Polly got into the business not through a love of guzzling the good stuff (although she does a fair bit of that too), but through a passion for restoring and preserving neglected orchards. With a postgraduate certificate in sustainable and efficient food production, she already had a good grounding in agriculture from uni, which she then went on to further with an EU-funded study tour. The Life Long Learning Project took her to Tuscany, where she learnt how to add value to basic agricultural produce, the importance of producing quality over quantity, and how to market regional produce better. “It was also a valuable networking experience,” the 28-year-old says, as she shows Crumbs one of her orchards where, even in January, she’s still picking apples. “I met somebody involved in rescuing traditional orchards in Herefordshire, and that’s why I became interested in rescuing traditional orchards in Devon and making cider – creating a valuable product from what is essentially food waste, and helping orchard owners who have no economical incentive to maintain their orchards.” Polly’s always loved ‘search and rescue’style nautical logos, and felt she was doing something similar with orchards. After spitballing with her husband, Matt, one night, Find & Foster was born.


“The thing with orchards is that if the trees are left they might fall over, or the branches can snap if they’re too heavily laden,” Polly explains, as we head back to her bijou brewery in an old barn. “I prune them and graft rare varieties onto rootstock, so when there is a fallen tree I can replace it with the right variety.


Loads of apples are actually on the verge of extinction, which is why Prince Charles has this whole thing for planting museum orchards. It could be that, in the supermarket, there are maybe only four different types of apples – but we need to preserve rare varieties, as if those apples aren’t resistant to a certain disease they could all be wiped out. More local varieties could have a resistance that they don’t have, so it’s important to keep genetic diversity in every kind of fruit.” Polly makes keeved ciders, which she describes as a slow-fermented cider that produces a light, naturally sparkling result. “It’s a complicated method,” she says, “but the chances of it going right really increase if you use the right kind of apples, and in traditional Devon orchards there are the perfect apples for keeving – they’re low-nutrient orchards with high tannin cider apples.” The other method she uses is the ‘Champagne method’, similar to wine making. It’s always been her intention to create ciders that you can drink with food. That’s why the bottles are a classy shade of olive rather than green, good for the table. She says that, at local markets she sells at, people can be quick to turn up their noses at cider. “They see the word, and they think, ‘Oh, I drank too much of that when I was younger’,” she says, “so at markets like the Kingsbridge Christmas market I serve tasters in Champagne glasses,

and it suddenly doesn’t look like cider. It encourages more people to try it, and so many of them say they didn’t think they’d like it, but they do. It’s so nice when people give you a chance.” It was training with a winemaker in Ireland, who transferred his skills to cider making, that Polly learnt her second method of production. For it, she loves using the Devonshire Buckland apple. “They’ve worked incredibly well,” she explains. “They have very well balanced sugar and acidity. They’re crisp, juicy and highly aromatic.” It’s also through the help of the Henry Plumb Foundation that she’s got so far. After all, even the machine she uses to put the corks into her Champagne bottles cost her £3,000. (“It was shockingly expensive,” she says.) With the rest of the funding she bought new stainless steel tanks, but her other equipment is secondhand, mainly sourced from eBay.


After a nose around the old barn, Polly drives us back to her home in Rewe, where it becomes apparent that she and her husband love breathing new life into all things that have been neglected – their home being another fine example. Next to a parish church, it’s actually a converted youth club – but you wouldn’t know that when you step inside their mini ‘grand design’. It’s an amazing sanctum, combining creative use of


space, cutting-edge design and reclaimed, rustic furnishings. They bought it a couple of years ago for a steal, as it didn’t have planning permission, but – with Matt being a carpenter and his brother an architect at a Devon firm, Hilton Barnfield Architects – they convinced Polly they could convert it into a dream home anyway. “When I first walked in here and tried to imagine living in this dark, damp, horrible village hall, I couldn’t see it,” she admits. “I trusted him, although we kept wondering what we’d do if we didn’t get planning permission. We’d have to turn it into a roller disco or something! “Once we got the consent, though, it was a really fun process – especially getting to make so many decisions about it, and making it exactly what you like. “We sat down with Matt’s brother, Rob, who asked what we really wanted from the house. We both really love being outdoors, and we wanted to feel as much like we were outside as possible.” Pointing at the floor-to-ceiling glass doors in the dining area, she says: “You can push those doors right back against the walls, and take the dining table outside. It feels nice and connected to the outside space. “We tried to keep some of the existing structure and cut the roof by the door” – she points up at some grey corrugated sheeting, acting as a overhang in the garden – “as the roof went right the way

( house call )


( house call )

over the garden. In the end we just cut a hole out of it to make the outdoors area.” Inside, the floor of the sitting area is raised to add interest, and a thick wall of wooden boards separates it off. The bedrooms are on through to the back of the house. While the Hilton men might have shaped the house, it’s Polly who’s been responsible for the cool furnishings, a lot of which are salvaged by her canny self. “The kitchen cupboard fronts are made from crates we found outside a fish shop, put together with old floorboards,” she says. “The dining table was Matt’s parent’s that had a twee, old-fashioned edging all the way round, so when Matt was out one day I got a saw and sawed it off and sanded it down.”


No matter where you are downstairs, you can’t avoid the glint of a humungous trophy on her sideboard. It’s from last year’s Devon County Show, where Polly scooped accolades for Nest Newcomer and Best Exhibit in the cider category. Her new cider was then blind tested in a final competition, and the aficionados liked hers more than any of the others and crowned her Champion Cider Maker. She couldn’t believe it – it was only her first year of production. But, on reflection, she guesses why her keeved, naturally sparkling cider cleaned up... “Every other cider there would have been fermented to dryness, then had sugar added, but what you do with keeving is you create this really slow fermentation so that not all of the sugars are converted to alcohol, and you have really natural, appley sugars,” she explains. “It’s a really different flavour, and much more natural.” That particular blend sold out fast, so Polly brings out to the table another bottle for us to quaff. With the leftover Christmas cheeseboard we sit and scoff and swill amid the glorious environs of this old-yet-modern pad, and it’s definitely clear that Polly has huge ambition. With local awards already mastered, perhaps she has sights set further afield…? “I’ve already had requests from abroad asking to import my blends,” she reveals. Cider makers around the globe, beware – your trophies could be at risk… ✱ FIND & FOSTER, Rewe, Devon;; @FindCider on Twitter and Instagram

KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL Name: Polly Hilton Hometown: Exeter Occupation: Cider maker Must-have kitchen item: Husband... he's an excellent cook, so I’m very lucky You love the taste of: The free-run juice that comes from milled apples before you start pressing Coffee or tea? I can’t get enough of Chimney Fire Coffee’s Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. But if I can't have that, then it’s loose leaf tea Beer or cider? I’m incredibly fussy when it comes to cider, so I usually opt for beer if I’m out! The look of your kitchen in three words: Industrial, reclaimed, functional Your kitchen is awesome because: We designed and built it from scratch using reclaimed materials, like crates from our local fishmonger If you could change one thing about it, it would be: Bigger


Most prized kitchen item: A chicken tea cosy called Barboura, that I made out of an old Barbour jacket Most unexpected item in your larder: Seaweed spaghetti Go-to recipe with cider: Cider is the perfect accompaniment to shellfish. I love a trip to the coast to gather mussels to make moules marinière, using our Brut Nature Methode Traditionelle cider instead of white wine Secret skills: Making alcoholic drinks from anything I can forage from Devon’s hedgerows and coastlines You can’t live without: Horse riding... Is this supposed to be kitchen related? [Well, ideally, but we like this so we’ve left it in!] Favourite condiment: Homemade, hot horseradish sauce If your kitchen could talk it would say: It might demand we get a cleaner


THE WANT LIST Spring’s a-coming, so snap up these buys that are inspired by nature


3 1. BERRY HEAD PRINT £15 Here’s a view and a half that’ll brighten up your breakfasts no matter what the weather’s doing outside. ✱ 2. ZEAL CROCUS WHISK £11 Practical as well as pretty, the design of this kooky hand whisk, with silicone-coated wires to protect all your ceramic bowls and non-stick pans, is inspired by the iconic spring crocus. ✱ 3. SILICON BOWL COVER £9.49 It’s airtight, it can be used in the oven, it can be used in the freezer, but – most excitingly – it’s in the shape of an aubergine! From Steamer Trading, Taunton. ✱



4. ATU SHEESHAM NIBBLE BOWLS £26.95 Check out these wooden bowls in all their natural beauty. They’re handmade, and come in a set of three – so they’re perfect for snacks of all shapes and sizes. Buy from Nkuku in Harbertonford. ✱ 5. SPRING BLOOMS CLOTHS £9.99 Chores aren’t the cheeriest of pastimes, but cleaning with a flower cloth beats cleaning with a manky old grey one, for sure! From Lakeland in Exeter. ✱



NOW Bi-M ont hly

M AG A ZINE The South West’s new wedding bible PICK Up your free copy now

T Follow us @VowMag From the makers of Crumbs, Bath Life, Bristol Life, Cardiff Life, Exeter Living and Salisbury Life Ad enquiries:; Editorial:; 01225 475800


Everybody’s snuffling (see p52)

Highlights THE MICHELIN MEN Meet the chefs bringing the international stars to Devon Page 48


Know your blade from your belly from your Boston butt? Pork cuts are explained here... Page 52


Matthew William Harris takes you on a tour of potato planting Page 56 Including…



HOURS... get your ribs just right



Watch out – there’s a new star in town. With Thomas Carr at The Olive Room bringing Devon’s Michelin accolades to six, we ask top chefs what the awards mean to the region

Above: just one Michelinworthy plate at The Olive Room; opposite: Thomas Carr plates up




With the inspectors visiting a restaurant at least three times (for new three-star restaurants, sometimes up to eight times), all incognito, accolades can come as a surprise for some chefs (Rebecca herself doesn’t like to reveal her identity – go on, try Googling her). But Thomas Carr had always hoped for this one, he says. And now having just been awarded three AA rosettes too, he’s got where he wanted to be. “It was on the agenda,” he says about gaining the commendations. “The food world

THE AGE WHERE PRETENTIOUS RESTAURANTS AND OVER-THE-TOP SERVICE DENOTED RECOGNITION ARE GONE is unique in many ways, and recognition from Michelin and the AA is what any fine dining chef will strive for. They’re not awarded for any single moment of greatness, but rather are judged on constantly hitting standards.” He agrees with Rebecca when it comes to new-age dining winning awards. “Refreshingly, success now is purely down to the food,” he says. “The age where pretentious restaurants and over-the-top service denoted recognition are gone. Paramount to a successful restaurant is providing attentive and non-intrusive service and top-quality food. “You can’t pay your way to these type of awards, other than with pure blood, sweat and tears. We have sacrificed over-filling the restaurant and turning more tables, which would have put much more money in the tills, in favour of providing a far higher standard for every guest.” Neither Rebecca nor any of the chefs we spoke to had a tick list of what goes into gaining a star. The Michelin editors meet internationally to make sure the standards are equal across the globe, but then it’s simply up to each brigade to wow. “You have to have the basics of service and atmosphere covered,” reckons Thomas, “but the focus is heavily on the food.


Provenance and delivery add to the whole experience, but they’re not the key factors. You have to have an even balance of local produce, but it has to be the very best.” There is a heavy seafood influence at The Olive Room, with its close proximity to a harbour helping get the freshest ingredients every day. And when it comes to staff, Thomas likes to keep it local too. “The whole team are born and bred Devonians,” he explains, “and they’re proud of their heritage. We’ve moved away for training and experience, but always treated Devon as home. This comes across in the food we present, whether from land or sea.”


Excellent quality at the higher end of the price range is what Michael Wignall, executive head chef at Gidleigh Park, is focussing on. He’s “incredibly happy and proud” to have retained two Michelin stars for the restaurant since taking over from Michael Caines in January 2016. Not only that, but the AA have just awarded him an unbeatable five rosettes, making an exception from the usual procedure of awarding rosettes in September and bringing this presentation forward just for him (the restaurant’s rosettes were suspended when Caines left last year). “This is great news to start 2017,” Michael says, “and is richly deserved by the brilliant team here at Gidleigh Park. We’re delighted and honoured that they have made such a big exception and given us this award now.” It was a risky of Michael, some say, to completely change the style of cooking when he took over. “Gidleigh has previously been known for its classic dishes, but we’ve


here were a few corks being popped in Devon when the Michelin Guide UK 2017 was published at the end of last year. And, we’re guessing, many of them will have been at a little, under-theradar restaurant in Ilfracombe – The Olive Room – where Thomas Carr scored his first Michelin star. It was one of just 17 restaurants in the country to get a new one, bringing Devon’s total Michelin star count to six. (The following local restaurants also boast one star – The Masons Arms in Knowstone, The Treby Arms in Sparkwell and The Elephant in Torquay – while Gidleigh Park holds a prestigious two stars.) The region’s celebrations didn’t stop there, though: The Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon and The Cornish Arms in Tavistock were both awarded Bib Gourmands, which celebrate ‘exceptionally good food at moderate prices’. And it wasn’t just the chefs who were revelling in their regional success, as Michelin Guide to the UK editor Rebecca Burr was chuffed too. “Thomas had a good grounding with Nathan Outlaw [he worked with him for four years, before moving to The Coach House with Michael Caines],” she told us, “and he’s very talented. It’s wonderful that he’s got a star.” This huge achievement goes to prove that you don’t necessarily have to have a swanky city venue and a endless budget to win a Michelin star these days. “Far from it,” Rebecca agrees. “The restaurant isn’t in a prime location – it’s quite quiet in Ilfracombe – and if it’s blowing a gale it’s hard to get people in. Thomas’s food speaks for itself.” So does that mean that regional restaurants are on the up? “Most definitely,” she continues. “And there’s room for more stars in Devon.”

( feature )

introduced a new, lighter style, where we’ve taken influences from different countries and flavours around the world – without ever forgetting the integrity of each ingredient. We’ve also transformed the entire experience; updating the decor, ensuring great service, and even completely changing the crockery – bringing each factor in line with my cooking, to create a 360 degree contemporary feel.” And it wasn’t an easy job: “A lot of time and effort goes into achieving any form of recognition. However, one thing that’s crucial is that the whole experience must be seamless, with consistent quality and 10 out of 10 service. For me, it’s all about the journey, from the front of house all the way through each course; it has to make sense, with each ingredient playing an integral part. To help with this, we have a vast kitchen garden where we grow fresh vegetables, herbs and spices, and work with the best local suppliers and producers – a factor that is very important to us.”


THE LOW-DOWN ON MICHELIN In 1900 those French tyre-making Michelin brothers, Andre and Edouard, published the first edition of a hospitality guide, with the intention of boosting the demand for cars, and therefore tyres. In 1926 a star-rating system for restaurants was introduced, with these definitions: ✱ A very good restaurant in its category ✱ ✱ Excellent cooking, worth a detour ✱ ✱ ✱ Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey The first Michelin Guide to Italy was printed in 1956, but no restaurants were awarded stars. The first American Michelin Guide wasn’t printed until 2005. Britain got its first three-star restaurant in 1982, thanks to Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. The Michelin Man has a name, Bibendum (Bib for short), and in earlier advertising incarnations used to smoke cigars and drink beer. The Bibendum restaurant in London was the original 1911 British headquarters for Michelin.

not necessarily having to offer the same level of service as the top restaurants. The Five Bells Inn at Clyst Hydon has held a Bib Gourmand since 2013 – it’s one of just over 140 eateries in the country to have one, and has retained it for 2017. Owner Gary Tubb explains: “The team are immensely proud of this achievement and the recognition, which puts us in the box-seat of places to dine that are quality, and represent good value for money.” The award isn’t the be-all-and-end-all to him, though. “Accolades are wonderful to achieve,” he says, “but are something that we don’t necessarily strive for, as the customer is first and foremost in our minds. If we were to lose it we would learn from it, but it wouldn’t dampen our enthusiasm.” Gary reckons it’s the overall dining experience that counts the most when it comes to winning awards: “It’s everything from the journey through beautiful countryside, and down Devon lanes, to stumbling upon the oasis that is The Five Bells Inn. There’s a warm greeting, casual but comfortable surroundings, good friendly service and fabulous food; it’s got to be a somewhat unforgettable experience.”


So, the accolades are stacking up, and the standard of food in Devon is skyrocketing – but will we ever see three stars outside of


London, and can we ever dream of them in our very own county? “There’s lots of pressure on two-star chefs to automatically go for three stars, but it’s hard,” says Rebecca Burr. “You’ve got to remember that there are only 100 restaurants in the world with three stars, and these chefs are being compared to chefs across the world, not just in this country. It’s a global accolade, so they’re measured on a world standard. We’re a small country, and we’re doing pretty well.” But even though we’re all aware of what an astronomical feat it is to get three stars outside the capital, some Devon chefs are still gunning for it. Thomas Carr agrees it’s in Devon’s sights: “Gidleigh Park has been awarded its fifth rosette and already has two Michelin stars, so it’s not far-fetched at all.” Michael Wignall adds: “The South West is an amazing place, with amazing local producers. I have every faith that more and more great restaurants will continue to crop up, as it’s a wonderful place to live and work. We’re constantly pushing to improve; forever striving to find more local producers and expand on our kitchen garden to ensure that everything we’re serving is of optimum quality. I also encourage my team to keep their ideas evolving.” Although he does add: “I never actually set out to be a two-star chef, or even have


The Bib Gourmand, now in its 20th year, is a newer kind of accolade for the Michelin Guide, given to restaurants offering highquality food and good value for money, but

( feature )

one star. I don’t think anyone should chase stars. It’s important to just do what you love doing to the best of your ability, and if you’re recognised for that, it’s a bonus.” Michael Caines, however, has – on the website for his new luxury country house hotel – already hinted he’ll be aiming high, with a kitchen of between 18 and 25 chefs. “I will be offering guests a choice from the à la carte, and two tasting menus,” he says. “One of the tasting menus will be my signature dishes, and the other will consist of weekly changing dishes inspired by the estuary that surrounds Lympstone Manor.” When it comes to standards, he says: “I have held two stars for the past 18 years, so from the off the goal is to achieve two stars. I have designed a fantastic kitchen to service the level of quality and complexity that guests will expect. More importantly, we need to consider the modern kitchen in terms of its layout, the challenges that are created and staffing hours, and so the kitchen has been designed for a number of purposes within the space we’ve got available. Fortunately, it is a large kitchen and one that I’m particularly proud of.” So he’s confident they’ll really be able to reach that elusive three star standard? “Of course – why not?” he says. “It is my lifelong dream and ambition, and I believe I’m capable of achieving it.” As for dining trends, Rebecca Burr believes restaurants are going to have to shake it up a bit for next year if they’re to keep winning awards. “We’ve had the Nordic trend and the Japanese influence, and the focus on one ingredient and the Noma-style of decor,” she says. “Destination dining, and tasting menus at £150 a head, may have to come to a halt. Diners will want something new. Restaurants need to try and be a bit more approachable, and change their menus to keep people coming back.” So, when it comes to the best in the nation, who should we keep our eye on for the next really big thing? “Perhaps Philip Howard, who’s going from The Square to Elystan Street in Chelsea. He’s one to watch…”


add these to your contacts book!

Opposite: another winning dish from Thomas Carr. This page (clockwise from top left): local lad Michael Caines; Michael Wignall and his team; Gidleigh Park’s John Dory with mussels; Gidleigh’s apple and polenta pudding; roasted wood pigeon from The Five Bells; The Five Bells’ winning crew

Gidleigh Park, Chagford TQ13 8HH; 01647 432367; Lympstone Manor, Courtlands Lane, Exmouth EX8 3NZ; 01395 202040; The Five Bells Inn, Clyst Hydon, Cullompton EX15 2NT; 01884 277288; Thomas Carr at The Olive Room, 56 Fore Street, Ilfracombe EX34 9DJ; 01271 867 831;



A pork belly of 2kg is easily enough for a family of four, Marcus Bawdon, barbecue expert at CountryWoodSmoke, explains. For the best results on a barbecue, score the skin with a Stanley knife, without cutting through the fat layer, and leave uncovered in the fridge overnight for the skin to dry. Season with coarse sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and fennel seeds, working them into the skin and fat with your hands. Cook on a barbecue with the grill grate 20-30cm above medium-hot lump wood charcoal, with a lid. You need to be vigilant that the crackling doesn’t burn – it should start crisping up after a few minutes. Once the crackling has crisped, you can then turn the belly over. The joint then needs another couple of hours smoking at 160-180C so it becomes tender. Brush the meat with your favourite barbecue sauce every 10 minutes for another 30-40 minutes, until it has built up layers of flavour.



This barbecue favourite cut is what you need for perfect pulled pork, continues Marcus Bawdon, who also edits UK BBQ Mag. The ‘Boston butt’ is the top half of the pork shoulder. You’ll need to talk to your butcher to get a full Boston butt, which is the best bit for pulled pork. To get the pork to pull and fall apart, it will need cooking very slowly, over 10 hours is not uncommon, at 110C in a smoker. The internal temperature needs to hit 95/96C in the deepest part of the pork shoulder for the collagens to break down and allow the meat to fall apart. Pork shoulder is one of the most forgiving of BBQ cuts, and it is a great place to learn your BBQ craft.

(FAT) Steve Williams from cured meat product company Good

Game, and also The Pig and Pallet in Topsham, hates to see any part of the pig go to waste – especially the fat. There are two types of fat you get from a pig, he writes, the back fat, which used to be called fat bacon and which the Europeans cure and call lardo, and the ‘flick’ or ‘flair’ fat, which comes from around the organs of the pig and is used to make lard. Making lard is really easy, and the best way to do it involves rendering down the flair fat so it turns to liquid fat. This is best done slow and steady, so as not to cook the fat and change the colour. I like to confit food in it, fry chips, roast potatoes, cook popcorn in it, add it to a mashed potato instead of butter, or put some herbs and garlic in it and use it instead of butter (pig butter is the future!).






(LEG) If you like your pork with less fat, then there is

nothing as good as a leg of pork, say the team at Pipers Farm. It’s lean, tender and moist, with crisp, crisp crackling. Buy it from the farm boneless, to make it easy to prepare. We recommend following our wintry Scandinavian recipe to bring out the flavours of the meat. Stuff the leg with sausage meat flavoured with toasted fennel seeds and ground clove and ginger, plus orange and lemon zest. Bulk out the sausage meat with breadcrumbs, then stuff the leg and tie up with string. Slow-roast for 1 hour 45 minutes at 180C, then rest for 20 minutes before serving.



Like a nice pork chop? Sure, but where the hell does it come from on a pig? Our Devon experts give us the lowdown, helping you buy better for your piggy dinners


tO TaIL Mains



The pork chops sold at Pipers Farm are taken from the loin, which is in the middle of the pig’s back. This area does little work, so you find really succulent meat here, the team say. Trimmed, chops make a sensational supper. They don’t take long to cook, and are perfect for casual dining. Dress them up with a nutty crust: blend a handful of pecan nuts with a handful of pistachio nuts (or chop finely with a sharp knife). Mix them with two tablespoons of Dijon mustard then smother the mixture all over the pork chops. Roast in the oven at 180C for 20 minutes, then serve with your favourite seasonal veg and potatoes.






(CHUMP) This is one of

my favourite roasting joints, writes Steve Williams. This sits on top of the leg, and at the bottom of the loins. We like to turn it into bacon – it makes a really good bacon cut as there is fat marbling, but it’s also lean like back bacon. Here’s my top suggestion: ask the butcher to brine it for you (you now have gammon). Then take your gammon chump and cut it into steaks. Cook these up in a pan in some butter, and it will be the best chump chop you have ever had. Once it’s been cured properly, you can dry it out in the fridge then slice it; you now have chump bacon.


This is the most expensive prime cut of the pig, continues Steve. It’s your fillet steak in beef. There are a few things you can do with it, like make pork stroganoff by cooking it with sour cream, mushrooms, onion and Hungarian paprika. Cook it so it’s just done, not for too long. A favourite of our family is the Austrian schnitzel. It’s traditionally made with a veal cut, but this works really well: take the fillet and cut in two. Flatten with a rolling pin between some greaseproof paper to about 2mm. Make a classic crumb with flour, egg and oven-dried breadcrumb. Don’t use panko, just normal dry breadcrumb. You can pan-fry the schnitzel in a little butter, but for the real thing you need to fry completely covered in clarified butter. (Buy a big tub of gee from an Asian supermarket and save a fortune.) You want the casing to bubble up and come away from the fillet. Squeeze on lemon juice and serve with pickles and sauerkraut.

(SKIN) You can’t do a massive amount with

pig skin, but it is amazing, writes Steve Williams of The Pig and Pallet. Commercial, indoor-reared pigs do not have great skin, as they need the sun on their backs, really. The skin is different on different parts of the animal – the skin from the back and belly is great for crackling, and the skin around the shoulders and legs not so great. By all accounts, the Berkshire pig produces the best crackling. I would reserve the skin from the shoulders and legs for adding to stews to thicken them. Use the back and belly skin when it’s nice and dry, sprinkle with salt, put on a baking try and cook in the oven at 180C-200C, until it gets nice and crackled. Break it up and eat it with beer.




add these to your contacts book! Country Wood Smoke,; Good Game (game & meat cured products), 07920 527691; Pig & Pallet, Unit 10, Topsham Quay, Topsham EX3 0JB; 01392 668129 Pipers Farm, Cullompton EX15 1SD; 01392 881380;

( feature )

POrk Life! Steve Williams and Pete Woodham-Kay of The Pig & Pallet in Topsham, and Good Game cured meat products, share with us their most covetable rib recipe To start, you need to find the right ribs, and for this you need to head to a good butcher. You will hear lots of barbecue people throw around terms like Baby Back, St Louis Cut, Compton Cut, etc. This is what you need to know: get belly ribs and work with these – they taste great, and should also be cheaper than the ribs from the loin (spare and baby back). If you go to Darts Farm and ask Ali or Phil for the cuts they send to The Pig and Pallet, you will get what you need!


1 side or rack of belly ribs For the rub (all spices ground) 100g salt 15g fennel seeds

15g black pepper 15g coriander seeds 100g sugar 15g garlic powder 30g smoked paprika 5g chipotle 20g onion powder 5g juniper 2g clove 5g mustard METHOD

– Take the sheet of ribs and chop at the end of the bone, where there is a soft joint. Do this all the way along the ribs. If in doubt, search for St Louiscut belly ribs on YouTube. Cut the smaller ribs off the end to tidy them up, and square them off. This is now a ‘St Louis cut’. – There is a membrane on the inside of the ribs that needs to be pulled off. Use a cloth to help you grip this membrane and then pull it. If you can’t

remove it, then you can do it more easily after you have smoked them, but best to do it before. – Apply the rub to the ribs. – Leave the ribs to flavour in the fridge for a few hours. – The first cook is on indirect heat on the barbecue at about 100-110C. You need a barbecue with a lid. Put the fire on one side and the meat on the other side and cook. Check temperature with a thermometer in the lid, ideally. Cook for six hours at 100C. Add some hard wood to the barbecue in the first couple of hours to get that smoked flavour in there. – Put the ribs into foil (remove the membrane, if you haven’t already) and add about 100ml of 50/50 apple juice and cider vinegar. Wrap back up and return to cook for another 4-6



If you don’t have a smoker or barbecue with a lid, you can cook the ribs in the oven at 110C. You won’t get quite the same barbecue flavours, but they will still be pretty good. If this to you sounds like a big effort, remember: you can make about 10 batches at once, then freeze until you need them.

hours. They’re ready when you can pull the bone out of the meat, but there’s bite still in the meat itself. – Once they are done, you have the choice to go ‘West Coast’ or ‘East Coast’. West Coast is to smother them in a sweet sticky barbecue sauce then char off on direct heat in the barbecue; East Coast is to serve the ribs dry with the sauce on the side.


EORGE Hotel c.1450 Rebuilt 2010



A rebuilt 15th Century coaching inn

“Always something perfectly fresh to try from local suppliers, open for lunch and dinner – come and join us and tempt your senses!” We also have a pizza oven... Great authentic pizzas to eat in or to take home with you.

Need somewhere to stay?

We have 13 ensuite rooms, some with four poster beds and in-room roll-top baths, and all with unique, vintage interiors.

Market Street | Hatherleigh | EX20 3JN 01837 811755


TaTerS GONNa TaTe Hurrah, it’s potato season! And Matthew William Harris has all you need to know about growing your own…



t’s here. Yes, the time has come to buy your potato seeds! Right now is when both gardening squares like me and budding growers are starting to deliberate all the ace new varieties of fruit and veg we can grow over the next few months. Indeed, most of us are already welly-deep in seed catalogues, or ploughing through the web for promises of unusual, tasty, bugproof varieties, all hoping to discover the next best veg. This year, however, I’ve composted the seed catalogues and instead pulled on my best woolly hat to head for the promised land: the original Potato and Seed Day, held at Castle Cary. Now in its twelfth year, its organiser, Pennard Plants, is touring the West Country, bringing with it buckets of traditional and unusual seed potatoes, handpicked heritages, and every other pip, kernel, bean, tuber and nut you could imagine, all to get us growing this spring. Whether you’re an experienced gardener and allotment veteran, or haven’t grown so much as a spot of cress since Primary School, the friendly Pennard lot are happy to talk veg. I was a kid in a sweet shop there, ending up with wide eyes and wider bags, filled with all kinds of treats. Think the tasty Pink Fir Apple salad potato (great boiled and mixed into a

TATERS TO TRY Newbie growers: Go for a classic Vivaldi, the multipurpose spud. It’s creamy textured (great for mash) and kind on the beginner. Pot, bucket and bag growers: Try the Sarop Mira variety. I’ve grown heaps from one plant in a pot – and they’re darn tasty, to boot.  For everyone: Red Duke of York, which grows large potatoes, is excellent for roasting – just watch out for the bugs! 


( feature )



Start by standing the little seed potatoes (small dents/knobby end pointing to the sky) in an egg box or similar, and placing in a light, frost-free place. Now wait!


From March onwards you’re good to go. Plant them, sprouted end up, in loose, composted soil in a sunny spot when the soil is warm. If you’re planting in the ground, each seed should go into a hole 12-15cm deep, and have 30cm between it and the next one. You can also plant in a pot, bucket or eight-litre potato bag. For these, use one seed with multipurpose compost and make sure there are holes for drainage.


Water with common sense, making sure the soil is damp. (If you want to really push the boat out and spoil your spuds, feed them seaweed fertiliser every week.)


When the plants are 10cm tall, earth them up. Pile the soil up around the base of the plant, up to their leaves.


After 10-13 weeks, you'll have yourself some spuds! Grab your fork, tip them or pull them out, and cook them however you see fit.


Remember to label and date your spuds – you will forget what you have otherwise, even if it’s just one in a pot. And make sure you note the variety: after all, a potato is never just a potato.

winter cashew mayonnaise slaw); the Rudolph (a good all-rounder British spud that makes for a damn tasty roastie, seasoned with salt and cracked black pepper); and the Mayan Gold (a Peruvian potato grown by the Incas and prized for its exotic flavour and ability to make golden, buttery mash). When you visit an event like this, also keep your eyes peeled for French potato seeds – available as of mid-February – especially the pretty, deep red Cherie salad potato, and robust, flavoursome Aloutte maincrop. Be on the look out for great deals too, with offers on seed sachets, and a single potato seed priced at 24p (good value, when you think that you can get around 1kg of spuds per plant). So cheap, they’ll doubtless leave you change for a cuppa.

But why should I bother, you might be asking. A spud’s a spud. Well, yes – and no. The thing is, if you want all the flavour and satisfaction that can be had from a home-grown potato, plucked fresh from the ground and coated with clumps of mud from your very own garden, growing your own is definitely worth it. You’ll find more than 80 types of potato seed at every Pennard Plants event, along with those for apple tomatoes, oca tubers, catmint for the cat, onions, garlic, flowers, and soft and top fruit plants: everything you need to start growing your own produce. ✱ Find out more about Matt, a South West-based gardener and grower, at; for more on Pennard, visit


UPCOMING PENNARD POTATO EVENTS (18 Feb) Ilfracombe Potato Day & Seed Swap at The Lantern Centre (19 Feb) Dulverton Potato Day at Dulverton Middle School

HELP FEED LOCAL PEOPLE IN NEED Friends of Exeter Foodbank is a scheme that means by supporting us with a regular donation you can play your part and share with us in helping people who are in crisis with little or no food and little or no money to buy food.

how can you help?

£18 per month

£35 per month

Covers the cost of taxing 1 van

Covers our phone costs

£10 per month

£20 per month


Covers postage costs

Covers the rent of our main distribution centre

Keeps the petrol tanks in the vans topped up

Support us with regular financial donations to ensure that our help can continue

BECOME A FRIEND OF EXETER FOODBANK now Contact us on the details below by phone, email or via social media

Or You can give any sum from £1 to £10 Text EXFB13 plus the amount to 70070 (for example – to give £5 just text EXFB13 £5) or give online (any amount) at

Call 07818 226 524



Mother’s Day Lunch, Sunday 26th March A delicious family treat for Mother’s Day. Top-notch food prepared using the finest local ingredients, and served in a beautifully historic setting. Three courses £24 (children £16) 01822 613221

The Bedford Hotel In the heart of Tavistock 1 Plymouth Road, Tavistock PL19 8BB

New menu as of 7th February

South St, Dolton EX19 8QS


01805 804255





Good for a bit of hide and seek – especially if you’re supposed to be picking up the tab at The Pig

Highlights VEGGING OUT

There’re roots ’n’ shoots, plus a huge helping of beef shin, at Riverford Field Kitchen Page 62


The new Pig at Combe has style and substance Page 64 Including…



suave sommelier who rose to our challenge

( G R E AT R E S TA U R A N T S )


Af ters

This mecca for organitarians serves up hearty fodder and tasty puds in a social setting where it’s okay if you don’t order the boxes, as Charlie Lyon finds out


ime flies when you’re onto a good thing, as Riverford have been finding out as they celebrate their 30th birthday this year. With the aim of “making the world a better place, one veg box at a time,” chief Guy Watson has built up an empire of franchisees who deliver the finest organic produce from local farms (and Spanish and French farms, when it comes to things like blood oranges and tomatoes) straight to your doorstep. There are now 55 franchisees


delivering around 47,000 veg boxes a week – more than ever before. The Field Kitchen – the restaurant on Guy’s original Wash Farm – opened in 2006. It’s totally as you’d expect from this environmentalist, with an unassuming exterior and eco credentials: a roof lined with solar panels, a plumbing system that only uses water from a farm spring, and the excess energy created by the fridges going towards heating the building. Long wooden sharing tables fill the interior, which at one end has an open

( feature )

bar area. In fact, you can spy all the way through to the kitchen, where a handful of 20-something young cooks and servers are busy prepping our feast. The tables are bedecked with wild flowers and the simplest of glassware, and the walls with dried flowers – so far, so sustainable. The restaurant operates in a canteenstyle way, where all diners are served sharing plates together. It’s a social affair, so bring your best conversation. Talk on our table turns to veg boxes first, as we pick at hearty beetroot sourdough bread that we slather with the creamiest of butters. Thankfully, no one’s judging my lack of a regular order (despite everyone else on the table being a true devotee of the scheme). When the last guest is in and settled, out come towering dishes of kale caesar salad, the hearty green leaves pepped up with a creamy Stilton sauce and whole walnuts. There’s more of a scrabble, though, for the colourful plates of pickled and roasted squash that are dressed up with milky dollops of labneh, and roasted cherry tomatoes that burst in the mouth with proper Mediterranean flavour (apparently importing tomatoes by land and sea has a much lower carbon footprint than trying to artificially recreate the sunnier climes needed to grow them here). The finishing drizzle of chimichurri makes this a dish worth fighting over for the last morsels. Next comes mains – the centrepiece being a beef shin tagine served, as it should be, more savoury than sweet, and with the fluffiest couscous. The slow-cooked beef that melts in the mouth signals a cow’s life well led. Sides are inspirational: celeriac gratin, rich

and creamy and peppered with salty capers and a toasted seed topping; white cabbage made moreish with burnt butter and caraway seeds; earthy carrots lifted with lemon and parsley. For someone with veg box fatigue, this restaurant is the ultimate go-to for inspiration. As the meal continues, chatter rises and a right jovial atmosphere develops. Dessert bucks the trend of the healthy, wholesome meal-so-far, and from my vantage point I spy a parade of puds being lined up on the counter. There are sponges, tarts and mousses galore by the looks of things, and unrest ensues among my dining compadres as we’re called up table by table – it’s obvious we’re going to be the last… Luckily, the pastry chef hasn’t been miserly with her baking, and there’s more than enough of the pear, rum and chocolate cake, sticky toffee pudding, cardamom mousse and burnt white chocolate, blood orange and lemon curd tart and Earl Grey-soaked prune frangipane – not to mention lashings of sweet Devonshire custard and cream – to go round. The frangipane is baked to perfection, with a fluffy sponge topping and crisp base, while the citrus tart is both sweet and sharp, with a buttery light pastry. After coffees, the clock hits 3.30pm (we’ve been here since 12.30pm). It’s been a divine feast and a meal to remember, and – at just £23.50 per person – excellent value, to boot.

✱ RIVERFORD FIELD KITCHEN, Buckfastleigh TQ11 0JU; 01803 227227;


Af ters


THE PIG AT COMBE All hail The Pig! We welcome the cool ‘hotel’ chain to Devon with open arms, with its restaurant the ultimate vehicle for letting our produce shine, says Charlie Lyon



ou know your life is panning out pretty well when you have a favourite Pig. Mine will always be The Pig near Bath for sentimental reasons, as well as for that greenhouse restaurant that’s truly one of the finest foodie settings in the land – summer dining doesn’t get more glam. But The Pig at Combe comes a pretty close second. It’s the fifth ‘restaurant with rooms’ (we’re encouraged to avoid labelling it a hotel) in The Pig litter and the first in Devon, which is exciting because the 25-mile menu here includes a coastline, meaning fresh fish in a divine country estate location. The rooms are celestial, as you can imagine. But as food here takes prominence, let’s start with that. Your journey into The Pig at Combe starts at the bar – an elegant but colourful

( feature )

affair with a striking fire, stylish sofas and genial bartenders who busy themselves flavouring racks of Chase vodka with foraged finds from the kitchen gardens. Then it’s through to the grand yet relaxed restaurant – step on in Levis and a jumper or a Stella dress: anything goes in this haven of understated modernity. The dark-wood panelled walls that were present in this place’s previous guise as Combe House Hotel have been sanded back, as have the floors, and now simple and sociable round wooden tables fill the room. Understated chandeliers create a wash of warm light, and potted edible herbs and plants pepper the soft brown space with green. Owner Robin Hutson (the man who conceived and grew Hotel du Vin) has a penchant for entomology too, apparent from the boxes of moths and beetles that bedeck the walls; they’re beautifully morbid, and great conversation starters. The service is friendly and informal here, delivered by a young and modish crew turned out in shirts, jeans and Converse. The gigantic wine lists are a challenge to navigate, but we’re steered confidently by our informed sommelier. “White, light, no flowers, easy on the fruit, heavy on the minerals,” we say. A bottle of Italian Greco suffices beautifully. Having spotted the dainty quails earlier in the kitchen garden (much better looking than your average hen), we kick off with appetisers of their eggs (£3.95), spiced and nutty, and a moreish bowl of kale and prawn salt crisp (£3.95) – essentially, posh fried and dried kale. ‘Literally picked this morning’ promises the menu in its description of our roasted star squash and salt-baked celeriac starters (£7 each). The squash is earthy and savoury, while the celeriac stands proud on my plate – a clear winner in the taste department, with the salt-baking bringing out the nutty and aniseed-like flavours perfectly. Tiverton’s Vulscombe goats’ cheese lifts the dish with a clean zing, while a rye crisp adds a satisfying crunch. These plates come in larger sizes, too – good for sharing, perhaps, but not to be ordered as a main, I reckon – so on to what we did have… Seared brill (£22) comes on robust purple sprouting with a razor clam and shallot sauce. It’s a generous portion and a wonderful feed, although less butter in

the sauce would let the clams sing louder – but that’s just personal opinion from an over-gorged body. Hake (currently winning in the sustainability department) is big and chunky and fresh, with glorious hits of aniseed from the sea vegetables. Being close to the coast we opted for fish, but note: there’s always the likes of the glorious sounding pheasant, pork loin and braised feather blade I spotted on the menu for committed carnivores. Puddings (all £7.50) are posh twists on mainly British classics. The baked rice pudding, when it comes, is sweet and thick with cream, and the spiced brioche is souped up with fragrant honey and a cool crème fraiche sorbet. We’re at maximum capacity by the end of the feast, but if you’re staying in one of the glorious rooms – think seagrass carpets, exposed beams, huge pillowy beds, copper accents and Smeg mini bars – make sure you’re up for breakfast. £15 will get you glorious smoked kippers, homemade banana and pecan loaf, cheese, rye sourdough toast, homemade ginger marmalade and a whole host of unparalleled delicacies. Yes, the prices are more than you’d pay at a standalone restaurant, but with a setting as unbeatable as this – and flawless service – the experience warrants the price tag. Come summertime, the separate ‘Folly’ – an outhouse with wood-fired oven and bar – will be a huge pull, too. We’ll see you there, we’re sure!


✱ THE PIG AT COMBE, Gittisham, Honiton, Devon EX14 3AD; 01404 540540;

Meet Coryn Mundle and Louis Fahey. They’re the brother and sister duo who keep Simply Fish restaurant in Brixham shipshape. You’ll find Coryn front of house and Louis in the kitchen – except when you’ll find them here… BEST BREAKFAST?


Coryn: Port Espresso, Brixham. The atmosphere is so welcoming and chilled out, and the food is homemade and locally sourced, too – you can’t beat a bacon sandwich on doorstep bread to start your day.

Louis: The Prince William. On a hot summer’s day you can’t beat this location, right on the marina with a view of Brixham harbour. You can grab a bite to eat and a nice cold wine or beer. It’s the perfect place to go with friends.



Louis: Bay Coffee Shop in Brixham. It’s run by a local man, John. You can’t beat a nice cup of coffee sitting there overlooking Brixham Harbour.

Coryn: The Manor Pub has been taken over and refurbished to an amazing standard by locals. This pub has a great selection of local ales and gin, and on a cold winter’s day the perfect thing to do is sit by the fire and just soak up the atmosphere.


Coryn: The Coppa Dolla Inn, Broadhempston. The two-in-one pies are what dreams are made of! My in-laws live in Scotland, and whenever they visit this is our first stop.


Now add this little lot to your contacts book Port Espresso, Brixham TQ5 8ER; Bay Coffee Shop, Brixham TQ5 8AW; The Coppa Dolla Inn, Broadhempston TQ9 6BD; Crown & Anchor, Brixham TQ5 8AW; Liberty’s, Brixham TQ5 8AW; Beamers, Brixham TQ5 8AW; The Prince William, Brixham TQ5 9BP; The Manor, Brixham TQ5 8HW; Simply Fish, Brixham TQ5 8AF; Bon Bon, Brixham TQ5 8EH; Claws, The Quay, Brixham TQ5 8AW


Louis: The Crown and Anchor Pub, Brixham. This is a local fisherman’s boozer that’s always busy with the hardworking men that make this town what it is. They offer a really good selection of local ales and ciders, and a very cosy atmosphere.


Louis: Our mum’s homemade steak pie! It was a favourite in our household growing up, and nothing quite compares to it. BEST CURRY?

Coryn: We’re namedropping here, but YaYa, a chef at Simply Fish, makes the best monkfish and gurnard curry in the bay. You have to try it to believe it! It’s one of our best sellers for a reason.



Coryn: Liberty’s in Brixham. This bar opened in the summer, and was just what Brixham needed. The Malibu Zombie and Alabama Slammer are our favourites!

Coryn: I have the ultimate sweet tooth! I always have something to tuck into, and my handbag has usually got a bag of goodies from Bon Bon in it. It’s run by a lovely local lady; if you are ever visiting Brixham, it’s a must.


Coryn: Beamers, Brixham. This is me and my husband’s go-to restaurant in town for a nice meal out. It is run by a local family, and Simone buys her own fresh fish from the market daily. My husband is the skipper of a trawler so is fussy about where he eats fish, but this gets his seal of approval. The steak is amazing, too!



Louis: Claws is the perfect place for a bite to eat on the harbour. Just what you expect from a locally run, Brixham business – top-notch seafood served with a smile. ✱


1a The Crescent, Queen Street, Exeter.

Both bars open from 5pm

Crumbs Devon – issue 13  
Crumbs Devon – issue 13